Cost of road salt in some parts of country skyrockets

| 12/13/2004

Many parts of the East Coast are facing significantly higher costs for road salt, causing budget problems and threatening governments’ ability to keep roads clean during the winter months, media outlets throughout the region reported.

Some examples:

  • The New Haven Register reported the price paid by the Connecticut DOT jumped from $8.50 per ton to $44.05 per ton;
  • The Westwood Press reported that Massachusetts communities’ cost went from $32 per ton to $47 per ton;
  • In New Hampshire, the Laconia Citizen reported that the cost of salt went from $32.71 a ton to $44.71 per ton; and
  • WNNE-TV said the price in Vermont has increased $10 to $12 a ton.

The price hikes are not being caused by a shortage of salt, but rather by a shortage of transportation. Many communities in the mid-Atlantic and New England states rely on barges to ship the salt in. Barges are instead focusing on more profitable loads, leading to an artificial shortage of the vital ice-melting chemical.

Some governments are trying to adjust their budgets to accommodate the increases, but some communities are concerned that paying more for salt will take money from other parts of their transportation budgets.