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Road salt becoming issue among Midwestern states

Wisconsin has more than its share of precious road salt among Midwest states. That's according to officials in Ohio, which is recommending that the Midwest work together in managing the commodity.

Ohio says states should cooperate and not compete in having good winter roads. And Wisconsin agrees.

David Vieth of the state Department of Transportation says there are lots of opportunities to work together, and he's considering Ohio's idea of a purchasing alliance.

It's a touchy subject, after record December snowfalls in much of the region.

Ohio said its access to road salt was hampered when Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa jacked up their purchases after last year's snows, which also set new records.

Vieth said his agency took action when prices went back down to normal, around $40 a ton.

The Badger State bought 1.3 million tons for this winter, a half-million more than a year ago.

At the height of last winter, Wisconsin was paying up to $134 a ton. That was enough for Ohio and Illinois to investigate whether salt suppliers were taking unfair advantage

Illinois' probe is continuing. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland says he's still reviewing his report. He has not decided whether to pursue a Midwest purchasing alliance.

Greendale village manager Todd Michaels says he'd welcome more stable supplies. The village has already used 30 percent of its winter allotment and will stop salting some residential streets.