Two legislators want the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee to hold a hearing to examine the state’s handling of last night’s snowstorm that crippled the state and left thousands stranded during the evening commute.
Assemblymen Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Bayonne) and Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton), both members of the committee, which is scheduled to meet on December 6.
“We’ve had over 500 car crashes reported throughout the state. Drivers are stranded on numerous roads throughout the state and it is very evident that NJ DOT didn’t properly prepare for the weather despite being aware of the forecast,” Chiaravalloti said. “Although the severity of the storm increased, there seemed to be no ability to adjust and respond to conditions.”
“I think this raises serious questions about the chain of command for future emergency weather conditions,” said Chiaravalloti. “The inability to communicate with drivers stranded on highways raises serious public safety concerns.”
Bucco said that the state’s response to the storm “was miserable.”
“Whatever resources were deployed by the Department of Transportation did not seem to make much of a difference statewide,” Bucco said. “As conditions worsened, the department’s presence was absent.”
Bucco said that he received numerous reports from local road superintendents whom he said were forced to stop plowing local roads to help clear state highways. He said he didn’t see any snow plows during the fourteen mile stretch during his own commute on I-287.
Chiaravalloti said he was also concerned about the response of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and New Jersey Transit.
“The PANYNJ shutting its New York City bus terminal with armed guards and providing no viable options for commuters is alarming, Chiaravalloti said. “The need for the newly rebuilt Bayonne Bridge to be closed because of the steepness of the roadway raises serious safety design concerns.