Unusual Silence of Christie Administration Raises Concerns
(Trenton) – Reports in the Wall Street Journal, Bergen County Record and Star-Ledger have raised serious concerns that last month’s closing of George Washington Bridge access lanes in Fort Lee were politically-motivated retribution by Christie administration officials, causing New Jersey Democrats to ask why the governor’s robust media operation is so uncharacteristically non-responsive.
Port Authority (PA) Executive Director Patrick Foye, who finally lifted the closures, is an appointee of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and reportedly believes that the “PA process was wrongfully subverted and the public interest damaged.” He condemns the closures as “abusive,” a threat to public safety, and possibly illegal, after they were done without the involvement of the PA police or its engineering department, reports say.
No one has yet provided details of the “study of traffic safety patterns” that an earlier statement from the agency alleged was the actual cause, although “local public officials dismissed that explanation, saying they would have been notified of such a study.” Meanwhile, the numerous “no comments” coming from the administration are, at best, unusual.
· “Agency spokespeople ignored repeated requests for comment yesterday.”
· “A spokesman for the governor’s office, Colin Reed, declined to comment.”
· “Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for Christie's gubernatorial campaign, did not respond to phone and email inquiries.”
“Port Authority Executive Director Foye’s palpable anger should raise concerns on both sides of the river,” said Bergen County State Senator Loretta Weinberg. “Releasing evidence of a routine traffic study should be a pretty easy thing to do, so I find the non-responsiveness of the Governor’s extensive public relations machinery to be peculiar. The accusation that the lane closings and subsequent traffic backups were done for political retribution is a very serious matter. I call on the Port Authority to put this issue to rest and just release the study already.”
Last year, Governor Christie effectively vetoed legislation that was passed by both houses of the New Jersey legislature and that would have brought more transparency to the Port Authority.