Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Christie Video: 'We Were Listening To All Of You'


Liz Cho: Good morning, Governor Christie. It's Liz Cho and David Novarro. We understand that things are now in the last hour or so kind of getting back online. Can you bring us up to date on everything in New Jersey?

Governor Christie: Sure I can. First off, as you probably know, we lifted the travel ban south of 195 at 7:00 a.m. We lifted the travel ban for the rest of the state about 15 minutes ago in coordination with our friends in New York. We have railroad, the New Jersey Transit railroad will have limited service by this afternoon. There will be line by line announcements. We have to go through some mandatory federal inspections before we are allowed to open it completely. But Newark light-rail is operating right now. Hudson-Bergen light-rail will be operating by 11:00 a.m. North Jersey bus service will be operating by 11:00 a.m. if not sooner. And so we are getting things back up and running in New Jersey.

David Novarro: That is great news. What about the tunnels and the bridges? So what do you expect in those terms?

Governor Christie: Well, we have lifted the travel ban here in New Jersey. We are working in coordination with Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio and I believe those bans will be lifted very soon.

Liz Cho: In terms of school for tomorrow, are you expecting schools to be back open?

Governor Christie: I don't see any reason why they wouldn't be. As usual, Liz, that will be a district by district decision and they will have to decide based upon it. But given the lack of accumulations that we are seeing off of what was predicted, I would presume that most New Jersey schools, unless there are particular problems in the district, will be open tomorrow.

Liz Cho: So, Governor, we know that as things reopen, the streets reopen, we see people kind of resuming their normal life, there is going to be a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking about the closures that happened. And there are going to be a lot of critics saying that perhaps there was too much done for this storm. What would your response be to that?

Governor Christie: Well, my response would be we were listening to all of you. You know, the fact is that you were working off the same information we were working off. I was being told as late as 9:00 last night that we were looking at 20-inch accumulations in most of New Jersey. If, in fact, that is what would have happened, having these types of things in effect were absolutely the right decision to make. And so listen you all were on TV practically 24 hours talking about this based on what you were being told and we were acting based on what we were being told. Fortunately for our state and our region, they were wrong. And so, now we can get our lives back to normal. But when it comes on about protecting human life, Liz, I am always going to err on the side of caution.

David Novarro: Let me get back to some of the details in the numbers. We talk about New Jersey, a lot of the trees make the power lines vulnerable in a storm. But I haven't seen a lot of power outages. What have you been seeing?

Governor Christie: Listen I spoke to the head of our public utility board at about 6:00 a.m. and as of 6:00 a.m. this morning, we only had 75 reported outages in New Jersey. At least as of right now, and we’re going to continue to monitor it obviously, it has been a nonevent from a power outage perspective.

David Novarro: You’ve had a lot of experience sadly with storms, with Superstorm Sandy, anything learned from those past that made us better prepared for this storm?

Governor Christie: David, absolutely. Every time, you know I said this to my staff, you know, if we don’t know how to do this yet then we are missing something. You continue to get better every time you do it and we were ready and I think that's why we were able to lift this travel ban as quickly as we have been able to lift it. I'm proud of the folks at New Jersey Department of Transportation and New Jersey Turnpike Authority. Our roads are in pretty good shape as you can see. I'm watching your broadcast right now and the roads look pretty good so I think it’s going to be safe for people to go out there and travel but everybody should proceed with caution. Don’t go out unless you have to and if you do go out, just drive carefully because it’s still slick out there and there’s a lot of blowing snow which will continue to compromise the roadways a bit. So be careful.

Liz Cho: Considering the ramp up and the preparation that there was that went into this storm and everything that was put into place in New Jersey, any concern about the costs that it’s going to cost the state?

Governor Christie: Well listen it’s something that we always budget for. I don't think that the costs will be exceeding our budget. Thankfully and I don’t want to say this too loudly, but we’ve had a relatively quiet winter so far. Now I know we have a ways go yet before we get to spring. But so far it's nothing like last winter was and I hope it doesn't mark a turning point here. But right now from a budgetary perspective we’re fine.

David Novarro: In terms of briefings for the rest of the day, what do you have scheduled for us?

Governor Christie: Nothing at the moment yet, David. We will brief as necessary, as circumstances warrant. But at this point I don't have any briefings scheduled as of yet.

Liz Cho: Governor you said limited rail service by this afternoon for New Jersey Transit. Any idea at this point when we will see complete resumption of service?

Governor Christie: I would think later in the day today, Liz, you’ll probably see it. But whenever you close down the rails like this you have a number of federal inspections that are mandatory for us to do. Involving things like the overhead wires, the track, bridges to make sure they’re operating the right way and all the rest of the equipment. So, this is particularly problematic because of the high winds. We want to make sure there isn't any damage done to the overhead wires. Once those inspections are done, we will be able to go back to full-service. But at least by this afternoon, we will have partial service. And on our light-rail system in the northern part of the state. By 11 this morning the Hudson-Bergen light rail will be up and running fully.

Liz Cho: Governor Christie, we appreciate you taking the time. For folks waking up this morning hopefully it will be a nice snow day for the kids home and get out and do sledding.

Governor Christie: That would be great Liz. Thanks to you and Dave for your hard work as well.

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