Political will shouldn't be an issue Tuesday, when the St. Louis County Board is expected to approve the purchase of a dozen snowplow trucks at a cost of nearly $1.6 million at its meeting in Embarrass, Minn.

The vote will come two days after the ninth-largest two-day snowfall in Twin Ports history.

The Mack Granite tandem axle diesel trucks will replace units that are "over 20 years old, and either cannot pass a Department of Transportation inspection any longer due to cracked frames, etc., or are worn and rusted out to the point of needing replacement," said a County Board letter recommending the $1.58 million purchase.

St. Louis County is responsible for the maintenance and snow removal of over 3,000 miles of county-state aid highways, county roads, and unorganized township roads. It has been updating its fleet with Mack Granite trucks exclusively for the past 13 years.

"(The) Mack Granite has shown to be a high-quality truck which has been the most reliable and trouble-free of the tandems purchased," the County Board letter said.

Reducing the number of models in the fleet has reduced inventory costs for parts needed to be kept on-hand, the board letter said.

The recommendation came from highway engineer and Public Works Director James Foldesi and County Administrator Kevin Gray.

The trucks are scheduled to be purchased using an available state of Minnesota contract with Twin Cities Mack and Volvo of Roseville. Lake Superior Mack and Volvo of Duluth would provide warranty service and parts support. Cost per truck works out to slightly more than $132,000.

The trucks are also used for ice control and hauling gravel.

Due to lag time between order and delivery of about one year, the trucks will be paid for using 2020 funds.