Gov. Phil Murphy joined NJTV News via phone while traveling across the state monitoring the nor’easter. He spoke to Anchor Mary Alice Williams.
Murphy: Good to be with you. It’s pretty sloppy, I have to say. We just came down from Somerset at one of the PSE&G staging areas. 287 south was particularly challenging. I’m on the Parkway south now, sloppy, not quite as clogged up as 287. The key thing here is, and I think your meteorologist just concurred, we still have a good amount of the storm still in front of us, so people really need to continue to use common sense, stay in unless they absolutely have to go out. It’s a winter storm and it’s in full force right now.
Williams: Governor, you’ve had a steep learning curve in this emergency management business. This time, you’ve coordinated with neighboring states on a travel ban. How did that work out?
Murphy: I think so far, so good, and I’m glad we did it. You’re absolutely right, Mary Alice. I’ve had bunch of these in short order. We all have to understand, given Mother Nature, there’s no cookie cutter response. This particular one, our team, based on the facts that they saw in front of them, and said you know what, it’s not only a state of emergency that gives you certain advantages, but a travel ban. When we say travel ban, it’s particular vehicles, and in particular, it’s tractor-trailers. And, as you suggested, we did that in coordination with Pennsylvania and New York, and we targeted it on interstate roads that have elevations and a good amount of hilliness — 287, 78, 80, 280. I think that’s helped us keep the roads as open as they have been.
Williams: Let’s talk power for a moment. As of 4 p.m., there were some 7,500 power outages reported, customers without power, as opposed to 300,000 in the earlier storms this month. Is that a consequence of a nature of this storm or a fact that utilities are now getting out ahead of it?
Murphy: I think it’s a little bit of each. For instance, I would agree that’s about the same number we’re hearing. The bulk of those are in Atlantic City Electric, in their territory, with ice on the wires. You’ll recall a couple of weeks ago, we were fit to be tied, as they say, with JCP&L and that hit a lot of branches and limbs of trees, and whole trees on lines in their territory. I think the utilities prepared better for this. JCP&L, in particular, had weighed in on their shared manpower agreements from out of state, 800 or more line men and women worked, by the way. I think that’s part of it. The weather pattern is different and that’s part of it, each one of these are different.
Williams: Thank you very much for your time, governor. Stay safe.
Murphy: Great to be with you, I will.