Mild winters gobble up snow budgets in Va., Md.

Hank Silverberg,

WASHINGTON – The impending snowstorm could be the first big snow event for the D.C. region this winter, but that doesn’t mean local governments are rolling in unspent storm cleanup money.

Much of the money set aside for snow cleanup in Virginia and Maryland already has been spent.

“We really haven’t had to pull out the plows, but we have been treating the roads as needed,” says Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Joan Morris.

The state allocated $55 million for Northern Virginia, but so far has spent about $31 million on this winter’s small snow and ice events.

That expenditure only counts for Northern Virginia, not areas of the state to the south and west which get their own allocations.

Morris says the money has to last the rest of the winter. In the past, there have been some pretty bad storms in March.

In Maryland, State Highway Administration spokesman Dave Buck says the state has spent its entire $41 million budget on little storms. Maryland has 17,000 miles of state-run roads.

“We’ve got to have our trucks out there. We can’t ever be the agency that says we didn’t see that one coming,” Buck says.

Suburban Maryland has had very little snow this winter, but Buck says parts of Western Maryland have seen up to 150 inches.

Morris says if, for some reason, VDOT has money left in its snow clearance budget after the last snow, it will be used for the inevitable pothole repair.

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