The Maine DOT has had a tough time finding qualified plow drivers, so the state has hired an Ohio company to clear the roads.

It's been a tough year for employers in need of drivers, with bus companies encouraging Veterans to apply, and the Department of Transportation struggling to hire and retain highway workers. So now, with winter upon us, the plowing contract for southern Maine has been awarded to the Ohio-based company, 'First Vehicle Services.' The contract allows for 10 year-round hourly workers in both Freeport and Alfred, with a provision that could expand that workforce by another 40.

MDOT's Director of Maintenance and Operation, Dale Doughty, told the Portland Press Herald that part of the problem with keeping in-state workers can probably be blamed on the lure of higher wages at private companies. A bill that would have raised the starting hourly wage of highway workers was recently voted down by a Legislative council.