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Transportation Head Tells Budget Writers Keeping Roads Plowed Is Getting Harder

Snow Plow
Flickr Creative Commons

The state's top transportation official says New Hampshire managed to keeps its roads safely plowed this winter, but she says it could be a challenge next year without more money.

Transportation Commissioner Victoria Sheehan says the cost of keeping state roads clear of snow -- the equipment, the salt and chemicals used to treat roads, and the labor -- are growing faster than revenue the state has allocated for the job. 

Sheehan told the Senate Finance Committee that the state is in a precarious position when it comes to plowing.

"At one point during the season we were down, between our own forces and contractors, close to a hundred trucks. We did a lot of recruitment and we were able to bring that number down, but we really have struggled." 

Sheehan says the state relies on public workers for all plowing in northern New Hampshire, but in the south, where plowing needs are harder to predict, it relies more on private contractors. Her department is seeking $3 million dollars in new money -- a 20 percent increase -- to hire more contractors to keep roads clear.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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