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N.J. Officials Work To Replenish Shrinking Road Salt Supply

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New Jersey Snow Driving

Treacherous roads and salt shortages have sparked concern in New Jersey. (Credit: CBS 2)

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey transportation officials say they’re working to replenish road salt supplies in the wake of several winter storms.

Department of Transportation Spokesman Joe Dee says they have enough salt for one or two more storms, but don’t want to keep dipping into already tight supplies.

Dee says a shipment of 40,000 tons of salt from a supplier is in a port in Maine, where it’s been delayed by a federal maritime law that prevents foreign vessels from moving cargo between U.S. ports.

The salt is being moved in smaller shipments on U.S.-flagged barges.

Dee says the state has used more than 370,000 tons of salt as of Feb. 11, before Thursday’s storm.

That compares to 258,000 tons of salt used all of last winter.

One of the biggest cities in New Jersey has found itself impacted by the shortages, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.

“We’re out of salt,” Mayor Steve Fulop said.

The brutal season has depleted the city’s stockpile but the mayor said that his city hasn’t been left completely defenseless.

“I mean it’s not like we have so much of a choice. So, I think we’re going to able to manage through it,” Mayor Fulop said, “We had very, very, little salt for the last storm so you’ve got to make do with what we have.”

Mayor Fulop said that more salt is expected to arrive in the next few days. He hopes they won’t have to use it.

Storms have also taken big bite out of local budgets.

New Jersey’s League of Municipalities says the severe winter is sapping the budgets of towns and cities, and it hopes the federal government can help.

In a letter sent Friday, the league asks Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker if the government can help “in this unanticipated budgetary emergency.”

The letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press, notes that Gov. Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency three times in the past seven weeks due to winter storms.

The succession of storms has exhausted the resources of local governments around the state, the letter says.

None of the storms has been severe enough to warrant a federal disaster declaration.

But the league executive director Bill Dressel says the cumulative effect of the harsh weather needs to be considered.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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