A Virginia interagency report has indicated then-Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his staff played little to no role in responding to the January snowstorm backup on I-95, which left people stranded on the interstate.
In early January, a massive snowstorm stranded hundreds of motorists on the Virginia section of I-95, causing a 48-mile-long backup of traffic and several deaths.
The After-Action Report provided a comprehensive breakdown of agency efforts to address the traffic crisis the storm caused and particularly highlighted the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Virginia State Police (VSP), and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) as the primary organizations spearheading the response. It notably made little to no mention of any role Northam and his administration played.
A letter to Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin from Virginia Secretary of Transportation W. Sheppard Miller III and Secretary of Public Safety Robert Mosier slammed the previous administration, declaring it “failed to recongize [the snowstorm’s effects] until January 5th,” days after the storm occurred.
They then outlined their conclusions from the report on how to avoid a similar crisis in the future, especially stressing to the governor that he should “assemble your leadership team early and often, and stay fully engaged at the highest levels.” The pair further highlighted the need to always plan for the worst, coordinate between agencies, and to declare states of emergency in a timely manner.
Seizing on the report’s findings, Youngkin issued a statement condemning Northam’s lack of response, saying “the previous administration’s leadership did not properly prepare or communicate.” He then noted his close coordination with the state’s relevant agencies. “We have weathered three big snowstorms successfully. Our focus is on preparation, communication and execution. Virginians can trust that we are working to keep them safe.”