Gov. Phil Murphy responds to criticism over winter storm response in New Jersey

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Friday, November 16, 2018
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Anthony Johnson has the latest from NJ Governor Murphy.

WOODBRIDGE, N.J. (WPVI) -- Commuters across New Jersey faced a slow ride to work one day after a blast of snow and sleet brought traffic to a stop and led to a wave of criticism of Gov. Phil Murphy.

Murphy held a briefing in Woodbridge Friday morning to address the concerns. He was flanked by his "storm cabinet" - members of his administration who led the state's response to the storm.

"I can understand and appreciate entirely and completely the frustration that I am hearing, and our team is hearing from commuters," Murphy said. "Every storm gives us a test. This is not the first, by a mile, but it gives us the chance to review responses and make adjustments for the next one."

Murphy said it is too simplistic to say his administration "dropped the ball," but he added that "the buck stops with me, period."

Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti apologized to commuters, many of whom were stuck in traffic for hours on Thursday.

State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan said the issue in some places were jackknifed tractor-trailers that snarled the snow-clearing operation.

On Thursday, Murphy, a Democrat, tweeted that the storm was worse than forecast. But it appeared commuters weren't buying that.

Even Murphy's predecessor, Republican Chris Christie, tweeted it took him nearly six hours to travel a distance that normally would take 45 minutes.

Christie harshly criticized Murphy when he called in to a radio show Thursday night.

NJ Transit bus passengers were advised to expect substantial delays and cancellations Friday morning because many drivers worked past their normal schedules and federal law mandates a rest period.

New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal was back open after it closed Thursday because there was no room.

Elsewhere in the state, a number of students in West Orange were forced to sleep at their schools after their buses turned back.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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