TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie took a shot at Democratic lawmakers over the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey lane-closure controversy Monday.
Assembly Transportation Committee Chair John Wisniewski issued a subpoena last week for the Authority executive director to appear before the committee Dec. 9 with reams of documents and emails concerning the Fort Lee lane closures in September.
Sen. Loretta Weinberg, who has alleged a cover-up under way at the Authority, also wants subpoena power for upper-chamber lawmakers.
“Just because John Wisniewski is obsessed with this, and Loretta Weinberg, just shows you they have nothing better to do,’’ Christie said Monday during his first Statehouse press conference since his re-election.
Democrats are seeking answers regarding who authorized the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge that created traffic nightmares for more than three days in September.
Christie said he had no involvement with that decision-making. “I didn’t even know that Fort Lee had three dedicated lanes,’’ he said.
However, he is urging the Authority now to review the whole situation. “The fact that one town has three lanes dedicated to it, that kind of gets me sauced,’’ Christie said.
Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni told Wisniewski’s committee last week that the decision to close lanes for a traffic study could have been handled better, but he said no other Authority officials would appear to answer questions.
Baroni wanted to focus the discussion on why 95 percent of bridge users are inconvenienced by three lanes being dedicated to host town Fort Lee.
Wisniewski and other Democrats at the hearing kept honing in on the who-made-the-decision details.
Today, Wisniewski issued a release summarizing the situation so far, and added:
“Despite a budget that exceeds that of more than half of the states in this country, the Port Authority has become an agency that operates with little accountability and no transparency. It has lost sight of what it means to serve the public and I intend to continue my pursuit of the truth about this matter as well as the long list of other issues that have raised questions and concerns about the agency’s operations and management.”
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"Gov. Chris Christie says he won’t campaign for the Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York because the cause is hopeless: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ahead by more than 30 points. But he will campaign in New Hampshire, over and over, where the Republican is also trailing by more than 30 points. What’s the reason? It may be that New Hampshire holds the nation’s first presidential primary. It may be that he doesn’t want to mess with Cuomo, who knows where the skeletons are buried at the Port Authority. But one thing is certain: Gov. Straight Talk is spinning again. And it seems to be habit-forming." - columnist Tom Moran- Star-Ledger
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