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An Economic Assessment of the Social Costs of Highway Salting and the Efficiency of Substituting a New Deicing Material

Donald F. Vitaliano
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
Vol. 11, No. 3 (Summer, 1992), pp. 397-418
DOI: 10.2307/3325069
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3325069
Page Count: 22
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An Economic Assessment of the Social Costs of Highway Salting and the Efficiency of Substituting a New Deicing Material
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Abstract

The use of salt for deicing roads results in costs estimated at more than $800 per ton--including the costs of repair and maintenance of roads and bridges, vehicle corrosion costs, and loss of aesthetic value through roadside tree damage. Additionally, there are probable health costs related to elevated sodium levels in drinking water. The new Surface Transportation Act of 1991 appears to replace the previous federal funding policy that was biased against the use of calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) with a new subsidy for its purchase that may lead to inefficient overuse.

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