TEXT OF INTERVIEW
JEREMY HOBSON: Maybe you didn’t want to go to work this morning after the Christmas weekend. Well, if you live in — let’s say the Carolinas to Maine — maybe you won’t have to. Or maybe you can’t because of that monster blizzard.
Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman is live with us this morning on the blizzard beat. Good morning, Mitchell.
MITCHELL HARTMAN: Good morning Jeremy.
HOBSON: We haven’t gotten any cost estimates yet — in terms of actual damage to homes or businesses. But how is this big, giant storm impacting transportation?
HARTMAN: The New York airports have all been closed — that’s more than 1,400 flights canceled just out of those airports. Amtrak canceled train service from New York right up to Maine. The Long Island Railroad — that’s the nation’s biggest commuter rail system — was also off-line.
HOBSON: Now, obviously, Mitchell, this couldn’t come at a worse time, because these are some of the busiest travel days of the year. But we do get these storms just about every year. Is there anything that could be done to the infrastructure in the busy Northwest corridor to avoid this kind of standstill?
HARTMAN: I’m not a meteorologist — I don’t even play one on TV or the radio. But look — these conditions are definitely extreme — in a lot of places there’s been zero visibility. They’re talking about snow drifts in feet and powerful winds. That said, you know, European airports hvae also been paralyzed by snow recently. Larry Price is an airline analyst at the consulting firm Mott MacDonald in London, and told me there are similarities.
LARRY PRICE: All those New York area airports are either at or — dare I say it — over reasonable capacity. If you then interject any form of weather event into that, such as frog, heavy rain, and particularly snow and ice, what you do is turn an already difficult, difficult situation into an almost impossible one.
And by the way, Jeremy, I’ve covered storms like this when I was a cub reporter in Connecticut. I got to work in a Jeep somehow but it isn’t pretty.
HOBSON: We’ll you’re luckily far away from the whole thing out there in Portland, Oregon. Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman, thanks.
HARTMAN: You’re welcome.