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MSNBC Hardball - Transcript

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MSNBC Hardball - Transcript
Thursday, September 22, 2005


MATTHEWS: We are learning about that right punch coming off the eye of a hurricane. That"s what you got to watch for.

President Bush will visit Texas tomorrow to get ahead of what is going on down there, get a look at what is coming and also get a look at the preparations for this monster storm coming.

Rick Perry of course is the governor of Texas. And he joins us right now.


GOV. RICK PERRY ®, TEXAS: How are you, Chris?

MATTHEWS: It looks like everybody is prepared. You have got a great evacuation going on. The question is, can all the people who are trying to get out, get out?

PERRY: Well, I think we have got the--as you said, the right preparation in place.

I know it is frustrating out there and it"s taking them a long time to get from point A to point B. But the fact of the matter is, it is a lot better for them to be moving slowly than to be in this s"s path. This is bad storm and this is one that is going to do a huge amount of damage.

So, the TxDOT employees, the FEMA employees, our Homeland Security folks, have done a wonderful job. It is just always hard to try to figure out what one of these huge monster storms is going to do. Your weatherman did a great job of showing all the variables there a while ago. So, we are doing everything we can to make it as easy as we can for our residents to move to safety.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the gas thing.

People get stuck--out here at North Capital (ph) right here, you have that problem when you get in these logjams or traffic jams.

PERRY: Right.

MATTHEWS: You wonder if you are going to run out of gas by the time you get off the road. You have a serious problem there. Look at these people, an all-day backup here. Are you charging these people for the gas you are bringing them when you go out there in the trucks?

PERRY: No. They are basically delivering this gasoline and trying to get these people moving.

MATTHEWS: For free?


PERRY: That"s the last thing on our mind, is what the cost is going to be. And we will worry about that later.

You know, we got the Air Force. We got the military. We got TxDOT, our Texas Department of Transportation. We have got private sector folks that are making the best of a really bad situation. But the fact of the matter is, not everybody filled up two days ago, when we told them that would be a very good idea. And so we are having to deal with some folks running out of gas.

But our models and our evacuation plans, we knew that was going to happen. So, again, we are just trying to deal with a pretty tough situation as positively as we can. I"m asking the people out there just to be calm, just to be patient. And we will get out of the storm"s path. That is the most important thing.

And, frankly, as a lot of these folks are going to find out, is, they are going to be able to return to safe, dry, intact homes. So, as this storm continues to move east, as we see it"s doing, there are a lot of those folks in Houston and Galveston that are going to be able to come back to their homes. And that is the great news. And it is a tough situation, though.

MATTHEWS: What is holding up the traffic?

PERRY: Well, first and foremost, you have got over a million-and-a-half people that are moving a relatively short distance of time.

We have got two major thoroughfares. There"s 210 miles of traffic in the Houston area that is one way only. You have got I-45 and I-10 that are counterflowing on both sides.


PERRY: Highway 290, because you can"t block off the egress and the ingress into some of those roads, like 290, you can"t make those counterflow. You--you--for the safety of the people, you can"t do that.

So, I mean, it is just--you know, it"s just plain old physics, Chris. The fact of the matter is, you can only cram so much volume through those types of highways. This morning, we started a mass mandatory evacuation of a lot of the Houston area when this storm changed its course again.


PERRY: So, again, you are trying to outguess Mother Nature. And, sometimes, that"s hard to do. But the fact of the matter is, this evacuation is going relatively well at this particular point in time.

MATTHEWS: Are you going to be able to get those people off that Highway 10 by the time the storm hits?

PERRY: I think so.

And you can bet we are going to have a lot of resources out there, and as we already do, and getting these people out. We have already had, you know, an extraordinary evacuation from the Beaumont to Houston area and Galveston already.

So, you know, you move 260,000 people out of Galveston--or 255,000. There"s 5,000 souls that may be a little hard-headed or are staying until the last minute.


PERRY: But the fact is, we have had a relatively thoughtful movement of these people out of harm"s way. And that"s the most important thing. Every mile away you get from that--the coast, the safer these people will be.

MATTHEWS: Well, it is great having you on, Governor. You seem to be doing a great job.

PERRY: You"re welcome.

MATTHEWS: And I root for you and the people of Texas, of course...

PERRY: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: ... to deal with this situation. It looks like you"re doing it.


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