Gov. Dannel P. Malloy stressed Friday afternoon that the salt shortage was a municipal salt shortage and, as a result, the state will be sharing a 30,000-ton shipment with municipalities in need.
As of noon, 22 cities and towns had requested additional salt from the state, but officials in the Emergency Operations Center warned that the number could grow. And it did. By 1 p.m. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor, was sending a team to New Haven Harbor to pick up some salt.
He said he submitted the paperwork to the state Thursday, and any confusion about whether he had requested it seemed to be worked out on Twitter — officially putting an end to “saltgate.”
Boughton had Tweeted Friday morning: “Salt. We. Need. Salt…#Danbury”
Danbury road crews were on their way to pick up 200 tons of salt at New Haven Harbor by 2 p.m., avoiding what could have been a political battle in a statewide election year.
Members of the Malloy administration surveyed 122 cities and towns Thursday to ascertain how much salt each had left for the season and how much more they could access. They got responses from about 115 towns. Some complained about not being able to get in touch with their vendor, while others had placed orders that have not been fulfilled.
With more snow expected as early as 10 a.m. Saturday, the state Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said the state had enough salt for two more storms. He said that stockpile of salt allowed the state to give Friday’s 30,000 ton delivery to municipalities in need.
The governor said Thursday that the state had enough salt left for one more storm. However, upon further inspection of the salt supply, “we had a little more in bin” than initially thought, Malloy said Friday at a noon press conference.
Malloy said with today’s delivery the state has enough salt left for four more storms, but the state has decided to give the delivery to the towns instead. He said they expect another delivery on Feb. 22, which was moved up from Feb. 28.
Malloy said the state won’t take any more salt for its reserves until the needs of the municipalities have been fulfilled.
“We have plenty of salt,” Malloy said. “Municipalities don’t. We’re taking steps to make sure municipalities have salt.”
Two municipal lobbying organizations said they were grateful for the help.
“Although towns had enough road salt to get through this storm, a couple of major salt distributors had called it quits for the season, leaving many towns scrambling for supplies,” Betsy Gara, executive director of the Council of Small Towns, said. “With more snow on the way, our small towns and cities truly appreciate Governor Malloy’s plan to distribute salt to keep our roads safe.”
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities echoed Gara’s statement. They commended the governor for his response.