Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) New Jersey is a famously congested state. Though it's got one of the most extensive transit networks in the country, it's also got more roads per square mile than any other state.
So when the famously cost cutting NJ Governor Chris Christie 'coptered over to his son's ballgame the other day, there was both outrage and a possible defense, outlined by Fairleigh Dickenson Public Mind Poll Director Peter Woolley. "I think a good defense is that this is the sprawl state and so it's very difficult to get from one place to another, even when the roads are in good shape," Woolley told WNYC's Bob Hennelly.
But still. Even though Christie was headed to a son's game, he may not have such an easy time playing the family card as he did last winter, when he explained an absence from the state during one of the worst winter blizzards by saying he wasn't going to apologize for vacationing with his family.
Christie may helicopter less frequently than some of his predecessors, but it's almost impossible to spin something like this well. If you're not the President of the United States, you pretty much can't win on the optics of getting a better form of transport than your average Joe, especially if taxpayers are footing the bill.