Atlanta mayor battles back on 'Today' criticism

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed appeared on "TODAY" Thursday morning, talking with Matt Lauer about the winter weather that paralyzed much of north and central Georgia.

Reed told Lauer that roads NBC showed leading into his interview, and earlier this week, are not in the city of Atlanta. The city does not have jurisdiction for the interstates that lead through Atlanta, Reed said.

The mayor also said Atlanta made an error in the way it released residents when the storm set in, but not in the way it prepared streets. He said he ordered all Atlanta streets pretreated by 9 a.m. The storm hit after lunchtime.

"If the cameras had focused on city limits, they would have seen that 80 percent were passable," Reed told Lauer.

VIDEO | Jaye Watson interviews Mayor Kasim Reed
VIDEO | Kasim Reed on The Today Show

In a press conference Wednesday morning, Reed said he won't play the 'blame game' on who is responsible for the gridlock on Atlanta's freeways after Tuesday's winter snow storm.

Reed said the first priority was to make sure roads were cleared, children stuck in buses and at schools got home, and emergency crews were able to keep working.

Reed said the mistake was allowing everyone to leave at the same time Tuesday, instead of staggering closings. He said he was not thinking about "grading" the response at this time.

More Winter Storm Coverage:
- Thousands still stranded on roads 24 hours after storm began
- Hundreds of kids stuck in schools overnight because they couldn't get home
- Fire stations, stores and schools take in stranded storm drivers
- PHOTOS: Atlanta's winter traffic nightmare
- SLIDESHOW: Your January 2014 snow pictures

Reed said there were nearly 800 accidents around town but no fatalities reported in the city. He added, 115 people were being sheltered in fire stations across the city.

The Mayor said, "we always want to be better but we're doing better than the last major snow event".

NBC's Al Roker disagrees saying the city didn't do enough before hand and had plenty of warning. Listen to Al Roker attack the city's planning here.

Mayor Reed went on to say no one is doing a better job in response to this snow storm than Atlanta.

When questioned by 11Alive's Doug Richards about the issues on the Downtown Connector and other freeways around the city, the Mayor shot back, saying the city is not responsible for that stretch of road and he would not get into that debate.

(The Atlanta Business Chronicle contributed to this report.)


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment