Former Virginia Governor and current U.S. Senator Tim Kaine is speaking to FOX 5 about his experience being stuck on I-95 for 27 hours this week and his thoughts on the actions of Virginia's transportation officials.
Sen. Kaine has been making the drive from Richmond to D.C. going back 13 years when he was the National Democratic Chairman. But never in those 13 years has the senator experienced what he did this week.
The typical two-hour drive during into a 27-hour ordeal of hunger and fuel rationing.
"It was pretty tough, but I had it a lot better than most," he says. "I had a warm coat and I had a full tank of gas and there were an awful lot of people who were around me who were in packed cars with kids, with senior and pets, and people with medical conditions running out of gasoline along the way."
VDOT officials said Tuesday they didn't know exactly how many people were trapped on the 48-mile stretch of I-95. The road was not pre-treated because of rain the night before Monday's snowstorm.
Sen. Kaine, who once oversaw Virginia's winter storm as governor, says the decision to not pre-treat roads looms large as a contributing factor.
"My understanding is that VDOT chose not to pre-treat because it was raining, but that left the roads untreated," Sen. Kaine says. "And then? A buildup of ice, a wet snow, freezing temperatures and that ice build-up really created challenges. So the good news is that Virginia is going to need to use these new transportation investments."
FOX 5 has reached out to VDOT to speak with Commissioner Stephen Brich. So far, that request has not been accepted.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam told FOX 5 on Tuesday that a review of what went wrong will take place "at an appropriate time." However, Gov. Northam's term ends in 10 days.