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Virginia’s snow budget is more than double some northern states

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- Central Virginia gets its share of snow, but not as much on average as Minnesota, Ohio or Wisconsin.

Naturally, it would make sense if those states had a higher snow removal budget than Virginia.

But an analysis by CBS 6, shows that Virginia spends more annually on snow removal than either of those states.

According to Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lindsey Legrand, Virginia is allocated $157 million annually for snow removal.

According to Ohio's  Department of Transportation, the buckeye state spends $65 million a year on snow removal with 1,627 snow plows available statewide.

According to Minnesota's Department of Transportation, $54 million is allocated annually to snow removal with 800 plows statewide.

Wisconsin Transportation leaders tell CBS 6 that $45 million are allocated for labor and equipment and $33 million for salt.

Why are Virginia's numbers so high compared to other states?

The answer may be because state numbers are making up for lower numbers that cities and counties allocate for snow.

According to Richmond's Department of Public Works, there are anywhere between 40-60 snow plows used to handle snowstorms.

Richmond has budgeted $700,000 this year for snow removal.

When you compare that to the City of Rochester, New York -- a city comparable to Richmond -- it is clear there are far less snow resources.

Rochester allocates $25 million a year for snow with over 100 snow plows in their fleet.


  • thetazva

    Well Richmond screwed up on removal after last weeks storm, I thought they had learned their lesson form a few years ago??

    Roads were still ice covered into the next morning/midday. Not even treated.

  • Glen Allen

    How can you compare Richmond’s snow removal budget to that of Rochester, New York, when the average annual total snow accumulation in Rochester, New York is 90 inches, and we are lucky to get 10 tops?

  • M.L. Adams

    I know that Richmond is not known for being able to work with numbers well; all you have to do is glance at some of its budget figures to tell that! But how do you have ‘anywhere between 40-60 snow plows?’

    Can no one on the city’s payroll actually count? Or do they have a problem understanding what a ‘snow plow’ is?

    • Jim Z

      M.L., I suspect Richmond supplements their own people and equipment with contractors. And the number of contractors they mobilize depends on the size of the storm. That’s probably why the number of trucks was described as a range.

      There is alway some risk in sending out the plows based on weather forecasts. If you are too cautious, you mobilize dozens or hundreds of trucks and the storm doesn’t happen, or it rains instead of snows (like it is doing in the DC area today…). Guess wrong the other way and you get dumped on, and spend the rest of the storm playing catch-up.

  • Dustin Cavanaugh

    I missed an extra day of school because my road was still covered when the main roads weren’t. I have a math final friday for a 4 week class and if I miss tomorrow’s class i’ve missed dang near half of it because of snow. I take the class to learn it. If snow is all over the ground and I can’t get there why am I taking the class? I am still expected to do the work at home even though I haven’t learned it. It would be nice if the roads didn’t stay covered so long.

  • Ildi

    Drove yesterday from TN to Chesterfield thru the snow…roads were treated, snow plows everywhere…got to Richmond…roads were NOT treated…no snow plows in sight on 64…won’t even talk about 288!!! All day long it was showing that this storm was coming through, so why was nothing done in preparation for this storm?????

  • Jim Z

    The big reason for the difference between Virginia and the other states is, in Virginia, the state DOT is responsible for local roads and streets, as well as the main roads and interstates. In the other states listed, the state DOTs only look after the interstates and main arteries. Counties and townships look after the rest.

    @Bill, a couple counties, namely Arlington and Henrico, plus the larger towns and cities, maintain their own local roads, but a big chunk of their maintenance costs is subsidized by VDOT.

  • GeoDude

    Jim Z has this exactly right and this is the reason VDOT’s snow removal budget is more than Northern States – VDOT takes care of many many more miles of roads

  • Jim Z

    It sounds weird but the cul-de-sac in the subdivision where I live is a state highway! VDOT plows and treats it when we get heavy winter weather.

  • J

    Pathetic “journalism”. VDOT is the third largest state DOT in the nation because they are responsible for all county roads except those in Henrico and Arlington. Even there they still have responsibility for about 20% of those roads which are state highways (e.g. Route 5). VDOT has a larger road inventory than California DOT, with nearly 50,000 miles of local connector and county roads.

    As Jim Z noted, VDOT is responsible for even cul de sacs as they are part of the state secondary system. That is why the state transportation budget is so high, and you should be outraged that every developer that builds a subdivision gets to dump that liability onto an already over-burdened state highway system, which means you and I pay for maintenance of what are effectively private streets that don’t serve a transportation purpose.

  • Jim Z

    @J: Yes, VDOT maintains most local streets but there is something to be said for economies of scale. In recent years, Fairfax and Loudoun counties looked at taking over some or all of their local roads and streets. They discovered that local control would be a LOT more expensive than the way it is now.

  • Ed

    Richmond and Rochester are very different In Snow big time. Rochester is one of the worst snow areas in the contrey richmond is not even on the list!

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