Senator Ryan Maher (R-28/Isabel) provided me a little more background on his Senate Bill 58, a measure that clarifies and expands the Department of Transportation’s obligation to remove snow from state highways running through smaller towns.
According to Senator Maher, the Isabel Town Board signed an agreement with the state for snow removal on Highway 65/20 through Isabel in the 1990s. The board also had property owners along the highway sign easements, giving the state authority over everything along the highway from storefront to storefront. DOT would plow, Isabel would hire someone to push the snow out the driveways and other access points, and when DOT got time, DOT would send payloaders and trucks to haul those snowpiles out.
Evidently the state withdrew from the last part of that deal last year. State plows still clear Highway 20/65, but getting that snow out of the easement area is up to the locals. Hence, Senate Bill 58, which would have the state remove snow from the highway in all towns with population 2,500 or less and add the line, “including any paved portion of the street’s right of way.”
SB 58 gets its first hearing Wednesday, January 18, at 8:30 a.m. before Senate Local Government, of which Senator Maher is a member. Four of the seven committee members are from West River.
p.s.: Isabel voted for Trump over Clinton 80% to 17%. Isabel’s desire for bigger state government suggest ideology dies in South Dakota winter.