23 state DOTs spent more than $1 billion on snow, ice maintenance this winter

Updated May 7, 2015

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Between October 2014 and March 2015, 23 states spent $1.13 billion to plow and treat roadways to keep traffic flowing, according to results from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) “Winter Operations Survey.” (http://downloads.transportation.org/AASHTO_2014- 2015WinterSurvey.xlsx)

States surveyed included Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming. New York did not report how much was spent on winter maintenance, but did report salt usage figures.

AASHTO’s survey found the states in sum worked 8 million hours during the winter season, counting state employees in addition to contractors. To do this work, more than 24,000 plows and trucks were used to clear roads, and workers spread roughly 6 million tons of salt.

“The responsibilities of state Departments of Transportation go far beyond planning, designing, constructing and maintaining roadways and bridges, said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. “When we think about funding transportation we need to consider the total amount needed to keep people and goods moving throughout the entire year. The 23 surveyed states spent more than a billion dollars and eight million work hours this winter season. That’s indicative of the amount of resources needed and the commitment and dedication displayed by state DOTs.”

Pennsylvania reported spending the most on winter maintenance at $272 million, with Louisiana stating it only spent $1.2 million. Pennsylvania also reported the highest number of work hours at 2.5 million.

Top 10 states winter maintenance expenditures:

1. Pennsylvania: $272 million

2. Massachusetts: $153.7 million

3. Ohio: $120.3 million

4. Maryland: $108.1 million

5. Michigan: $80 million

6. New Hampshire: $46 million

7. Connecticut: $44.6 million

8. Kentucky: $40.9 million

9. Indiana: $40 million

10. Colorado: $36.8 million

“Comparatively speaking—this was an extremely challenging winter season, “ said AASHTO Snow and Ice Cooperative Program Coordinator Rick Nelson. “Multiple southern states were hit hard by ice storms and the eastern part of the U.S., especially New England, had their budgets squeezed by a concentration of snowstorms and freezing temperatures.

“Not only were Eastern states pounded by record setting snowfall—the winter storms kept coming, one after the other, compelling DOTs to keep plows on the road the entire season.”

A spreadsheet with the survey results is available here.