Pennsylvanian Towns Want More Money From the State to Cover Snowplowing Expenses

Townships in the Pennsylvanian counties of Montgomery and Bucks are asking the state for more funds to compensate for the higher cost of plowing state roads during the winter.

The Reporter News reports that on May 20th, local and state officials met at the Lower Salford Township Board of Supervisors meeting to discuss the idea of having the state pay more for municipal services. According to local officials, the payments the state makes are much lower than the actual cost of snow removal on state roads.

Officials from the Montgomery County Public Works Association (MCPWA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PDT) discussed the option for the upcoming winter, and have another meeting scheduled later in the summer. MCPWA Superintendent Arky DiRocco claims the compensation it receives from the state is too little.

“If we continue to do it at this, we’re giving the state a lot of money each year,” DiRocco said.

Currently, the compensation rate for the southern Pennsylvanian towns is $873.48 per lane mile. DiRocco and other officials feel the rate should be at least $1,800 to $2,000 per lane mile, considering that the costs of labor and salt are increasing.

“Salt went up $11 a ton last year from the year before,” DiRocco said, making the total price of salt $62 per ton.

DiRocco was careful to make a distinction between “lane miles” and “linear miles” when calculating costs. Plows clear one side of the road before turning back and completing the other side. As such, “lane miles” refers to the total millage the plowtrucks travel, rather than just the length of road the trucks cover. For example, the state contract for Lower Salford is 43.47 lane miles, which is equivalent to 21.49 linear miles.

Last winter, Lower Salford received approximately $39,000 from the state.

DiRocco made it clear that the towns are happy to clear the roads as long as they’re justly compensated. Towns have the option of declining to clear the state roads.

“We’re not saying we don’t want to do them,” he said. “We’re saying we’re losing money to do it. We need more money.”

Many municipal and state snowplowing services continue to use the classic “V” shape plow that splits and pushes snow cleanly off the roads.


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