NJ Snow Removal Costs Won’t Prevent Upcoming DOT Projects [AUDIO]
The brutal winter of 2014 is costing the New Jersey Department of Transportation big time. More than $70 million has already been spent clearing state highways and byways of snow and ice -- an all-time record -- and we've still got several more weeks of winter ahead of us.
Nevertheless, the department is planning to move forward with several different road projects that will cost an estimated $318 million.
"Money for those projects will not be affected," said DOT spokesman Joe Dee. "There's already money in the budget for road repairs, repaving projects, for pothole repairs, and that money will remain there."
Dee said a small fortune has been allocated for fighting Old Man Winter, money that might otherwise be put to good use by the Department of Transportation and other departments within state government, "but of course fighting snow is very important from a public safety point of view, so we do this."
Dee said the DOT starts with $10.3 million for snow removal every year, but if more cash is needed, it's not a problem.
"We just keep track of our expenses," he said, "and we work with Treasury to get reimbursed for those costs."
There will be plenty of projects to attend to in the next several months, according to Dee.
"When the asphalt plants open up in the spring, there's multiple projects all over the state where we're either milling and paving, resurfacing the roadways, or doing complete roadway reconstruction projects," Dee said. "There's always a lot of work throughout the state in that regard that will go forward as planned."
According to Dee, at least $2 million will be spent filling potholes later this spring, when the weather warms up.