Georgia Governor Nathan Deal took responsibility Thursday for the state's response to Tuesday's snowfall, and his critics are weighing in on the fallout.
Dalton Mayor David Pennington is running against Deal as a Republican candidate for Governor, and he said the Atlanta area's gridlock could have been prevented.Pennington said the state should have a plan for winter storms.
"The first thing they obviously should have done is pre-treat the roads," said Pennington. "Some people say well that's a waste of money, but that's like paying your insurance premium. If the worst happens, you're glad you paid your insurance premium."
Deal faces a re-election fight later this year, and voters' perception of his response to the storm and his apology may play a factor.
"I think we did not respond fast enough. We did not respond in the magnitude at an early enough time to be able to avoid some of these consequences," said Deal, who mentioned he wants to create a new plan to avoid what happened in the future.
Atlanta leaders also reacted to questions about readiness.
"One day into a severe weather event, we got our streets clean. We kept our hospitals open. We kept our people safe, and the city of Atlanta is running again," said Kasim Reed, the Atlanta mayor.
The North Georgia area dealt with similar problems of closed roads, wrecks and closings on a smaller scale. The city of Dalton had its own consequences on a smaller scale, including students who went to school and soon had to wait for parents to pick them up.
"When you let everybody go at the same time, (congestion happens). We saw a little bit of that in Dalton. When all the employers let them go at the same time, we end up with a big traffic jam too," said Pennington. "However, we made sure our roads were passable, so it didn't turn into a nightmare."
But it wasn't enough in some areas. Streets like Dug Gap Road were shut down to residents trying to get up the mountain.
"You can't address every road in an event like this. What you do is you make sure the major arteries are done, and the people who live in areas like that, up on mountain tops, they themselves need to make their own plan," said Pennington.
Pennington said the state should make a plan that only allows companies to bring in essential employees. He said that plan should also include crews to pre-treat major interstates to keep truck traffic moving.
Pennington will run against Governor Deal at the state primary election on May 20.By Briona Arradondo