Budget cuts mean fewer snow plows this winter

by: Graham Johnson Updated:

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King County, Wash. —

Budget cuts mean more King County roads will go unplowed this winter, county officials warned Monday. The county expects to plow just ten percent of the roads during a major storm, compared to 30 percent in 2010.

 Three years ago about 150 plow drivers were working. This winter, that number will be closer to 100. "This winter is going to be rough and people need to understand this is going to be unlike any winter they've experienced previously," said Brenda Bauer, director of the King County Road Services Division.

 Property taxes in unincorporated King County fund road maintenance. Home values dropped more than 40 percent in the recession. As values recover, the county says taxes are rising slower because state law caps tax increases at one percent a year. And as more neighborhoods are annexed into cities, residents in those areas are no longer paying for county roads.

The King County Council on Monday joined the call for the state legislature to conduct a special session to fix transportation funding.

 The county is warning residents to prepare for snowstorms and extended power outages because it will be harder for utility crews to access areas if the roads are not plowed.  The county has launched a new website to alert residents: http://kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/Roads/SnowAndIce.aspx