Some city leaders publicly criticizing delay in snow cleanup


BOSTON ( – The parking bans have been lifted and kids are heading back to school Wednesday, but snow removal remains tough in the city of Boston. Now, some city leaders are publicly criticizing the delay.

Recruits from the Boston Fire Academy were out Tuesday, clearing snow-blocked fire hydrants. Fifty-four recruits hit the streets in East Boston, Roxbury, Allston and Charlestown to help clear off the nearly 13,000 hydrants across the city.

When it comes to unplowed streets, some officials are pointing to private contractors as the problem. Boston Mayor Tom Menino's office has apologized to residents who were stuck for days. The mayor says the process is being reviewed and his office plans to check plows' GPS devices to make sure they lived up to their contracts.

The mayor also says the city has made a lot of progress, clearing many major intersections. Crews were out overnight to make sure roads are ready for kids heading back to school Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, the Boston Herald reports the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has exceeded its $45 million snow removal budget for the year. MassDOT says it was nearly over that number before the blizzard.

The agency is allowed to break the bank to keep roads clear and MassDOT has not said how much it has or will spend on this storm. The state is expected to apply for federal disaster funds to cover some of the costs.

A Boston Herald report says some of the contractors hired to clear the snow gave thousands to Mayor Menino's campaigns. The report also says the head of the public works department had no prior experience dealing with storms when she was hired three years ago.

Next Up: