February Blizzard Cost City $37.3M
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CHICAGO (CBS) – City officials estimated on Friday that last month’s blizzard cost the city more than $37 million in preparation and cleanup efforts.
City Budget Director Eugene L. Munin estimated on Friday that emergency spending between Feb. 1 – when the snow started falling – and Feb. 9 – one week after the blizzard ended – totaled $37.3 million. That figure includes spending by the city, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Public Schools, the City Colleges of Chicago and the Chicago Park District.
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February’s blizzard was the third largest snowstorm in Chicago history, dumping 21.2 inches of snow on the city, according to the National Weather Service.
It also includes about $14.5 million spent at Midway and O’Hare airports to clear off their runways, a cost that will be covered with airport revenues.
City officials are hoping to receive federal disaster relief funds to help cover the remaining $22.8 million in costs. That total includes $13.3 million spent by the Department of Streets and Sanitation, $5.8 million from other city departments and $3.7 million from the city’s sister agencies.
The city’s figures did not specify how much it cost to remove hundreds of vehicles from Lake Shore Drive, after they became stuck in snow drifts on the night the blizzard started.
Gov. Pat Quinn has formally requested disaster assistance from President Barack Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for 60 Illinois counties, including Cook county.
“This was an extraordinary blizzard and we are grateful that the federal government is considering assistance to cover some of these emergency expenses,” Munin said. “At the same time, we will continue our efforts to reduce costs wherever possible.”
If the federal disaster request is approved, local governments might be reimbursed for 75 percent of eligible expenses stemming from the blizzard.