Governor Christie: New Jersey Played It Smart And Safe
Jake Tapper: Let's get more on this from New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie. Governor Christie, thank you for joining us. Let's talk about the storm. The Mayor of North Wildwood, New Jersey said the flooding there is worse than during Sandy. Hundreds of people had to be evacuated. Were officials in New Jersey caught off guard?
Governor Christie: Oh, no. Listen, the folks that were evacuated were evacuated when we planned to do that if the tide came in. Let's keep this in perspective, Jake. North Wildwood and the Cape May County area was the least flooded area during Hurricane Sandy and had almost no damage in that area of the state. So to compare it to Hurricane Sandy, you're not comparing it to what happened to the rest of the state and also, from looking at what is going on in Margate. High tide is now over in Margate and the water will now recede and we have no concerns for flooding the rest of the day today and what we're hearing from the mayors is that there is no significant type of property damage there at all and so we've really done very, very well in this storm, and we have no concerns about flooding or damage from flooding any time soon.
Jake Tapper: You worked with Governor Andrew Cuomo on closing the bridges and tunnels in and out of New York City. They reopened this morning at 7:00 in the morning. Governor Cuomo went the additional step of instituting a travel ban for New York City. That has been lifted for New York City. That’s been lifted. Do travel bans work in situations like this?
Governor Christie: Well, listen, it very much depends upon the area you're talking about. For New Jersey, Jake, as you know, we didn't really need to have a travel ban because we have been having a voluntary ban the entire day and people -- I've been traveling the roads all day. If I had seen a lot of people on the roads, I might have instituted a travel ban. I can tell you I was on the Parkway, on the Turnpike, and all day the only vehicles I saw were plows, emergency vehicles, and mine and so we didn't need to do it. You know, Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo made the decisions they made and I work cooperatively with Governor Cuomo to close those bridges and tunnels in respect for their mandatory travel ban and because I didn't want anybody traveling in New Jersey anyway and so closing those bridges and tunnels we’re really of no moment for New Jersey.
Jake Tapper: At one point there were 100,000 people in New Jersey without power. What is the latest on that? And how long will it take to get the whole state back online?
Governor Christie: We are down to 22,000 without power this morning as of 8:00 a.m. were the latest numbers I had. 18,000 in of those are in Atlantic county and Cape May County. What you'll see is by end of day today, 90% of those 18,000 will be restore. Hopefully all will get their power back in time to watch football this afternoon.
Jake Tapper: Fourteen people have died in storm-related incidents from North Carolina up the east coast. How are the people of New Jersey doing today?
Governor Christie: We have no reported deaths here in New Jersey, thank goodness Jake. Our folks worked incredibly hard to keep people safe. We only had to shelter 113 people in public shelters last night. And those were in Cape May, Atlantic, and Cumberland Counties. Our folks listened to our warnings. They stayed in, we were prepared. We had 3,800 pieces of equipment on the roadways. All of New Jersey roadways are open this morning. New Jersey Transit, buses, and light rail are ready by noon today. By later this afternoon all of New Jersey Transit will be back up and running. So that when we get to our morning rush tomorrow morning we'll be ready to go with no problem at all. This has been a model response. As I said yesterday, this is my 17th snow emergency in six years. We know how to do this and it went very well yesterday.
Jake Tapper: What do people in your state need to know about Sunday and then returning to work and school maybe Monday?
Governor Christie: Well, on Sunday, Jake, what people should do is, again, it's very cold out here. People are going to want to start to go outside and start shoveling and clearing their walks and their driveways. This is very heavy snow. So I ask that they please be careful as they’re clean up their own property today or their businesses. Second, we're keeping lower speed limits on the Turnpike and the Parkway because there is still some icing. We're going through and salting and continuing to salt.- by midday we should be back to regular speed limits. Please drive with caution. Especially on the secondary streets that can be a bit slippery and third, I want to commend the people of New Jersey. They played smart and they played safe yesterday. We were lucky it was a Saturday, I think, and they did a great job. So all of us worked together yesterday to make sure that New Jersey was kept safe and let's face it, Jake, we had a lot more snow up here north than I thought we would. 24 to 30 inches. Newark airport had 31 inches of snow and so this is a lot of snow to move and our folks at DOT, Department of Transportation did an extraordinary job as did the people of the state.