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The exceptionally cold and stormy winter battering the Midwest, South and Northeast has forced cities and states to put road crews on double shifts and step up purchases of asphalt to keep up with an epidemic of potholes. They have also bought and spread so much salt that there is a shortage in the Mid-Atlantic States, with more storms expected. Many local and state governments face a new financial strain from storm-related increases in spending on overtime pay, contractors and supplies as revenues are still below pre-recession levels. James Brooks, a director for community development and infrastructure at the National League of Cities adds, “We’ve also had many years of disinvestment in things like roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, which makes them more vulnerable when something like this happens.”

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