BOSTON (CBS) — As Massachusetts cities and towns shatter their snow removal budgets amid a record-breaking winter, Gov. Charlie Baker says he’s more concerned about plowing the snow than paying for it right now.
“I think the goal in the short term is remove the snow and we’ll worry about how we’re going to pay for it afterward,” Baker said in a Monday morning press conference as another winter storm pounded the region. “You don’t want to skimp on public safety.”
Baker said that between 70 and 80 inches of snow has fallen in parts of the state in a span of 14 days. Boston has already blown past its $18 million snow removal budget, and many other communities are feeling the crunch too.
Salem, Marblehead, Lowell and Lawrence have received waivers to put snow in local waters, the governor’s office confirmed to WBZ-TV.
The state has raised its expectation on snow and ice by $50 million, Baker said, and his administration has been working with local communities to make sure they have enough equipment to clear roads and sidewalks.
“I think public safety is goal number one here,” Baker said. “We work as hard as we can to clean up the places we’re responsible for and locals do the same.”
It remains to be seen if the state will be reimbursed by the federal government for the cleanup of the Blizzard of 2015, Baker said.
“This is pretty much unprecedented,” Baker said. “We’re just going to manage our way through it.”
The governor also said that it appears most people were staying off the roads after he urged employers to let workers stay home, and defended his decision not to implement a travel ban.
Baker’s next concern is that all the snow could cause roofs to collapse.
Roofs are “under tremendous stress as a result of the snow we’ve seen in the course of the past few days,” Baker said. “We’re starting to worry a lot.”
He also acknowledged the efforts of people working to keep residents safe during the storm.
“I’d like to say thanks to everybody who’s been pushing a shovel or driving a plow,” Baker said. “It’s been a real challenge for everyone.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports: