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Year Two of Maine's Snow Plow Driver Shortage

Maine's DOT is facing its second year of driver shortages.

December 26, 2017
Maine DOT is facing its second year of driver shortages.

Snowstorms are a given in Maine and according to, parts of the state can get up to six feet of snow per year. That could mean some good job security for snowplow drivers up there, assuming the Maine Department of Transportation could find any.

However,  Maine's DOT is facing its second year of driver shortages. According to the Wall Street Journal, Maine's Department of Transportation has about 50 open positions as it faces an expected 30 snowstorms during the rest of the winter season. But the state with the lowest unemployment rate in the country is finding filling the snowplow positions to be difficult.

"We struggled last year to keep plow truck drivers in the seat in the two most populated counties in Maine," said Dale Doughty, Maine DOT director of maintenance and operations. "We want to provide the public with the level of service they demand."

The department is trying to entice drivers with new incentives including $1,000 winter stipends, but incentives and wages of up to $18 per hour haven't brought in many job seekers.

So, Maine's short term solution is importing snow plow drivers from Ohio. First Vehicle Services, a fleet management firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. First Vehicle was awarded a contract in September to provide 10 year-round hourly workers in both Freeport and Alfred, Maine, with a provision to expand to 40 more workers. The department has already asked for four more workers based in Yarmouth.

Contractors use state equipment, vehicles and supplies and are supervised by state employees. The contract can be extended to four years and allows the state to increase or decrease the number of workers it needs, Doughty said.

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