Governor Cuomo: “Symbolically, while we’re watching government at its worst in Washington, the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of America at her best. So, keeping the torch lit I think is a perfect metaphor while this situation is devolving in Washington.”
NEW YORK, NY — December 22, 2018 — Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was a guest on 1010 WINS with Jeff Allen to discuss the government shutdown and the State’s intervention to keep the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island open. Throughout the duration of the shutdown, the personnel and costs of operations at the cost of $65,000 per day as it has during previous shutdowns in 2013 and this past January in order to keep the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island open to visitors. As a result, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will be open tomorrow, and remain open every day except December 25, weather permitting.
A rush transcript is available below:
Jeff Allen: Thanks to Governor Cuomo the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will remain open. The Governor joins us now on the phone. Thank you for being with us today Governor.
Governor Cuomo: Thank you very much for having me and happy holidays to you and all your loved ones.
Jeff Allen: Well thank you very much. Can you tell us what you’ve done to keep those landmarks open and could you also explain a little bit about how the shutdown will affect New Yorkers?
Governor Cuomo: The Statue of Liberty is one of the great national monuments, obviously, and we have a tremendous number of tourists who come to the New York City area to see all our sites, but especially the Statue of Liberty. If the Statue of Liberty were to close, people were actually starting to cancel trips, et cetera. The economic impact of the tourism around the monuments is about $1 million per day, believe it or not. We have agreed where the state will pay the salaries’ of those federal employees, which will cost the state about $65 thousand to pay the employees, but we won’t lose the $1 million a day in economic impact. So, from an economic point of view it makes sense for us to do this. It’s not even close on the numbers. And also, symbolically, while we’re watching government at its worst in Washington, the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of America at her best. So, keeping the torch lit I think is a perfect metaphor while this situation is devolving in Washington.
Jeff Allen: Sorry to interrupt Governor, but I just wanted to ask you another question. Many Americans will be traveling over the next few days, with Christmas only a few days away. Will the shutdown have an effect on the FAA or the TSA?
Governor Cuomo: Essential federal personnel will still be in their positions. The airports in New York are run by the Port Authority, and to the extent there’s a loss of federal employees, the Port Authority will supplement that loss to make sure that the air traffic and the flights stay on schedule the best they can so we contemplated this because they’ve been talking about it for a number of days and, pardon my skepticism, I was not hopeful that this President would come to his senses and do the responsible thing. So we’ve been preparing for this and I don’t believe there should be a significant impact on travel.
Jeff Allen: Speaking of travel, we understand you’re planning a trip down to Puerto Rico tomorrow to spread some holiday cheer there. Is that trip still going on as planned?
Governor Cuomo: You know, unfortunately I am going to cancel that trip. I was going to go to Puerto Rico. As you know well, Puerto Rico was devastated by a series of storms and is still recovering. New Yorkers really stepped up and have been great friends with Puerto Rico when the federal government, frankly, abandoned Puerto Rico and part of that was I was bringing down Christmas gifts that we had collected through donations for the children of Puerto Rico, many of whom are in situations where they’re recovering and Christmas is not really going to be Christmas. So the gifts we will send to Puerto Rico. I was looking forward to going myself tomorrow just to send the best wishes of New Yorkers but with this federal shutdown, there are some complications, so I’m going to stay in the state. My job as the Governor is to make sure the state is running well. It is complicated with the federal shutdown. So I’ll stay here but the toys will still go to Puerto Rico and I think the toys, frankly, were more important than me.
Jeff Allen: That’s great. Governor Cuomo, joining us live on 1010 WINS. I hope you enjoy a very happy holiday season, Governor. Thank you again for joining us today.
Governor Cuomo: Thank you. You too.
SOURCE: New York State | Executive Chamber | Press Office