Mother Nature is wreaking even more havoc on VDOT's snow budget after the agency updated their books this week.
“Right now, our best estimate is $150 million over, which is double our snow budget,” said Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne.
VDOT originally budgeted $157 million. But now, Secretary Layne is preparing for a $300 million dollar snow bill.
With another winter storm predicted for the state next week, those numbers could keep going up, but Secretary Layne says he has no regrets.
“I won’t be apologetic for the cost of storms, we did the right thing,” said Secretary Layne. “There were a lot of news reports across country that Virginia didn’t find ourselves in. We were held up as an example. Does that have costs? Absolutely. Will that cause us to make adjustments? Absolutely.”
Adjustments--in what will be spent this spring.
NewsChannel 3 obtained a VDOT internal memo--sent out by VDOT's chief engineer before the March storms--that urged a reduction of spending by about 17% in their maintenance budget.
Now, with the rise in snow costs, even more spending will have to be pushed off until next fiscal year.
“There are prudent decisions that were made, and I am comfortable that VDOT has been transparent to me, and have taken appropriate actions to deal with them,” said Secretary Layne.
The internal memo sent to NewsChannel 3 from a source inside VDOT also shows that the agency was over budget in areas other than snow removal--to the tune of about $30 million.
When we asked the secretary about it, he says those costs have to be looked at in perspective.
“In a $1.8 billion budget, I think that’s pretty good,” said Secretary Layne. “I am very comfortable with VDOT's actions, they have been very transparent about what they have done, and where their money is.”
The work that will be pushed off until next fiscal year includes pavement projects on secondary roads in counties around the state.
As for the $120 million repaving project on I-264 and I-64 to permanently fix the potholes, that will not be affected, because that money came from the state's construction fund.