According to the news agency, buying salt right now can be two or three times as costly as it was early in the season. The AP quotes the general manager of Ice Melt Chicago, a salt distributor, as saying, "So the municipalities that could buy bulk salt early in the year at $53 a ton are now paying $130 a ton a week ago ... and I heard the prices have gone up to $175 to $180 a ton. It could easily go to $200 a ton or more."
Many towns around the country are trying to keep a lid on costs by restricting usage to key areas including hills and intersections. Some are mixing what salt they have left with sand, while others are using liquid cheese brine and Beet Heet, processed molasses from sugar beets.
And it's not just the salt that's more expensive – with more storms comes more man hours, more overtime, more fuel for plow trucks and more wear and tear on equipment. When it snows, it pours, too.