Removing snow cost MnDOT a lot of cold cash: $130.1 million

  • Article by: BEENA RAGHAVENDRAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 15, 2014 - 9:29 PM

The $130.1 million winter total for the state is the highest in recent years.

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Snow plows teamed up to clear snow from the west bound lanes of Interstate 94 near Burns Ave. in St. Paul.

Photo: Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune

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The weather may feel like late September instead of pool temperatures, but hey, at least we don’t have to pay for snow removal — we’re already over budget.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation shelled out its highest snow and ice removal cost in recent history: $130.1 million this winter. That’s an $18 million jump from its 2012-2013 cost of $112.3 million. For the past 11 years, the state’s average removal cost was about $84 million, rising and dipping based on the weather.

A video totaling the state’s snow removal bill is on MnDOT’s recently launched Get Connected website. The costs were so steep this winter, which includes the end of 2013, that the Legislature gave the agency $20 million to help with extra removal costs, plus $10 million to patch potholes, which were worse thanks to the severe winter, said Kevin Gutknecht, MnDOT communications director.

“We’re just going to have to watch and see what happens, and if we need to rethink the way we budget for snow and ice, we’ll do that,” Gutknecht said.

Costs include salting, truck repairs, and operations and fuel, Gutknecht said. The money for state snow removal is pulled from its maintenance budget, so any extra money needed comes from there, too.

“The bottom line is that if we have a winter that costs us more than what we anticipated it might, we’re still going to spend that funding,” Gutknecht said. □

 

Beena Raghavendran • 612-673-4649

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