Exclusive: Snow budget spent, Virginia governor vows to fill potholes

WASHINGTON — More than a week of snow removal has almost completely depleted Virginia’s $202 million annual budget for winter storms, but Gov. Terry McAuliffe is vowing to spend the money it’ll take to patch the quickly growing number of potholes.

“You spend whatever it takes to keep the roads open,” McAuliffe tells WTOP.

The Virginia Department of Transportation’s heavy machinery, including front loaders, have been crisscrossing the commonwealth, physically removing tons of icy snow from state and local roads, after more than 2 feet of snow fell starting Jan. 22.

“It’s probably the most expensive, or clearly the second most expensive, storm in Virginia history,” McAuliffe says.

Despite blowing through almost the entire budget, McAuliffe says he won’t skimp on the storm’s aftermath.

“Phase 2, fill in the potholes — we’re going to do it very aggressively,” says McAuliffe.

Realizing Virginia’s money put aside for winter storms was gone, McAuliffe asked Department of Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne where the state could find the money to patch the holes.

McAuliffe says spending money to fix potholes will likely mean deferring regularly-scheduled maintenance projects.

“Possibly a bridge, or some other kind of maintenance that can be pushed off for a year,” he says.

McAuliffe says setting a snow budget can be difficult.

“You always sort of just throw a dart at the wall, because you never know how many storms you’re going to have,” McAuliffe says.

Joshua Barlow

Joshua Barlow is a writer, composer, and producer who has worked for CGTN, Atlantic Public Media, and National Public Radio. He lives in Northeast Washington, D.C., where he pays attention to developments in his neighborhood, economic issues, and social justice.

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