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Feds Now Investigating GWB Lane Closures by Christie Appointees

Monday, December 16, 2013 - 08:14 PM

WNYC

The federal government is now investigating the closures of two lanes leading on to the nation's busiest bridge by former appointees of Governor Chris Christie, a prominent national Republican who is eyeing a 2016 presidential bid.

Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, a West Virginia Democrat who chairs the U.S. Senate Science, Commerce, and Transportation Committee is asking the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to explain the unannounced closure in September 2013 of several lanes of the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey and New York City. In a press release, Rockefeller said he was "alarmed by the agency's sudden action and its subsequent consequences on interstate commerce and safety."

The lanes were abruptly closed in September without telling the executive director of the Port Authority, Pat Foye, who is an appointee of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat. Foye called the closures "illegal," and said they could have caused fatalities by blocking emergency vehicles. In testimony in Trenton December 9, Port Authority officials in charge of the bridge were told the closures were made "at variance" with usual procedures and were deliberately hidden from both Foye and the Mayor of Fort Lee, where traffic backed up for a work week.  

Democrats have charged the closures were made as political retribution against the Fort Lee mayor, who didn't endorse Christie for re-election. 

As a bi-state agency, the Port Authority is subject to congressional oversight, and Rockefeller said oversight has traditionally fallen to his committee.

In a letter to Port Authority Board Chairman David Sampson, Rockefeller wrote:  "Unwarranted lane closures with no public notice can have serious ramifications on interstate commerce and safety in the region, and as the Committee with oversight responsibility of the Port Authority, I continue to have serious concerns about the actions of this agency. The gravity of this situation demands a comprehensive investigation. It also exacerbates my concerns with the governance and previous oversight of the Port Authority."

Rockefeller also wrote to US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Monday urging that the federal agency open its own inquiry into the Port Authority. (The letters appear at the end of this post.)

In a press conference on Friday announcing the resignation of Bill Baroni, the second of his appointees at the Port Authority to resign, Christie accused Democrats of politicizing the issue and said he fully expects national Democrats to make political hay of the closures. “National Democrats will make an issue of everything about me," he told reporters. "Get ready for the new world. We’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.”

The chair of the NJ Assembly Transportation Committee, John Wisniewski, has seven subpoenas already out to the Port Authority.

Port Letter

 

Foxx Letter

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Comments [11]

iMan9796 from New Jersey

Gov.Cuomo stressed that the traffic scandal did not take place on his side of the bridge, which is controlled jointly by New York and New Jersey.“It was done on the Jersey side of the bridge,” he said. “The Jersey officials handled it.

The thefts from the PABT’s Lost & Found Dept. by PABT Supervisors along with their illegal written policy of throwing valid lost passports in the garbage happened on the NY side of the GWB, so the New York officals should handle it. Gov. Cuomo it’s your turn to act, & don’t act like you didn't know. I've come to realize that ignorance is not only bliss, it is also contagious & spans both sides of the GWB. The ball is in your court.

The culture of fear is alive and well at the Port Authority, closely followed by a culture of wretched stupidity. Believe me, I know firsthand and I have the evidence to prove it. GWB General Manager Robert Durando’s testimony at the New Jersey State Assembly Transportation Committee on 12/9/13 exposes the culture of fear that exists at the Port Authority, he is fully aware of what happens to whistleblowers at the Port Authority. Sadly, Durando and his boss Cedrick Fulton, along with many other Port Authority employees decided to put tens of thousands of lives in jeopardy just to save their own jobs. They are all cowards, nothing more than highly paid puppets of the Port Authority. Every single one of them must be fired & prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for aiding and abetting this criminal activity.

http://videos.nj.com/star-ledger/2013/12/george_washington_bridge_direc.html
http://www.voicebase.com/voice_file/public_detail/402450/refine/"sarah+gonzales"

Finally, a traffic study on 9/11...really, what’s next, the Port Authority giving all TSA airport screeners the day off on 9/11/14 to see if that speeds up the “screening process study?” The Port Authority has degenerated into a cesspool of crime, corruption, cover-ups & retaliation staffed with a bunch of clowns, cowards, liars & thieves.

No one should be above the law, no matter who they are or who they work for.

Jan. 29 2014 07:44 PM

If the Republicans aren't joining the investigation, that's so much the worse for their image, since it's quite obvious that an egregious abuse of power occurred. If the GOP thinks this sort of thing is OK as long as it's their side that's doing it, that says it all about the entire party, not just Governor Bully and his staff.

I don't get the comparisons with Benghazi. Benghazi had more serious consequences, but there's no evidence that it had anything to do with willful abuse of power to punish an opposing politician. Benghazi was a mistake; Bridgegate was intolerably intentional.

Jan. 09 2014 11:54 AM
Mistercaruy from Cliffside Park, NJ

In the 2016 presidential fight, when the right cries Benghazi, the left can point to Gov. Crisco (fat in the can) and reply Bridge-ghazi. Let the games begin!

Jan. 09 2014 09:47 AM
iMan9796 from New Jersey

This same disgusting corruption, cover-up & retaliation is standard operating procedure at the Port Authority Bus Terminal's Lost & Found Dept. in NYC concerning lost & found property brazenly stolen by Port Authority Supervisors. Google  “Donna Lebourne abc news" & see the vile face of shame being confronted & exposed for the world to see. 

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=9105280

Port Authority Supervisor Donna Lebourne has an outside job, she is the Vice President of her & her husband’s charity Caribbean Sports International that donates cellphones & other electronics.  If you lost an item at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and did not get it back, contact her charity, perhaps she may donate your item back to you out of the kindness of her cold evil heart. It's very easy to be charitable when you are giving away other peoples' property.

http://www.corporationwiki.com/New-Jersey/Maplewood/caribbean-sports-international/85267222.aspx

http://www.gmdu.net/corp-390048.html

Also, the Port Authority of NY & NJ has become a threat to national security and has placed everyone's safety & security in jeopardy, by undermining all the counter-terrorism measures that have been put in place by the United States. They have allowed crimes such as the illegal policy of disposing lost valid passports in the garbage that are found in the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Now just imagine the damage that a terrorist cell could do with those valid lost passports or an identity theft ring. 

What happened in Kenya could easily happen here, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, as a result of the Port Authority's intentional breach of national security. This is a willful act of treason against the United States of America. Google "Port Authority - Passports."

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=9277998

NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly agrees with my concerns as well.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/kelly-warns-copycat-terrorist-attacks-malls-article-1.1544046

If the Port Authority will not prosecute and punish their own supervisors for theft, especially when they are caught redhanded, how much confidence do you have in their ability to actually put a stop to their illegal passport policy? The Port Authority's inaction and cover-up is tantamount to treason.

http://nypost.com/2013/09/09/terror-and-the-nypd/ 

Action must be taken against these corrupt incompetent criminals in the Port Authority before another terrorist attack takes place & more innocent lives are lost due to their utter disregard about our safety and security, not to mention their disgraceful feeling of self entitlement to patron's lost property found at the PABT.
Google “found, stolen, trashed by PA.”  

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/found_stolen_trashed_by_pa_V4RMICgPyy2bhAVzDkW9EL

It’s time to stop the madness!

Dec. 17 2013 02:19 PM
david wilson from cliffside park, nj

The Port Authority's budget is larger than the budgets of 6 states. The patronage and corruption are endemic so Congressional scrutiny is welcome.

In the comments above, there is a right-wing pivot which tries to divert attention of the scandal by bringing up the tragedy at Benghazi. Yesterday in the Bergen Record, columnist Alfred Doblin wrote that the lane closures occurred on September 11. The bridge is a potential and very high profile target for terrorists who want to replicate and memorialize 9/11. While the "study" created an hours long traffic jam, someone was asleep at the wheel.

Dec. 17 2013 11:07 AM
Eric F

Can you guys try to be accurate in your daily obsession with Terry Schiavo, sorry, I mean the GWB:

"The federal government is now investigating the closures of four lanes of the nation's busiest bridge"

Uh, no it's Democrats in the Senate, not the federal government, and it's two lanes from Ft. Lee to the toll plaza and not four lanes on the bridge.

Grow up.

Dec. 17 2013 11:01 AM
Eric F

"to explain the unannounced closure in September 2013 of the George Washington Bridge"

Wow, so now the entire bridge was closed?

For all the supposedly severe affects of the "closure", it didn't seem to get any contemporaneous press. Well, now that the Senate Democrats are "investigating" I'm sure we'll have a nice apolitical, deliberative process for Hillary Clinton, I mean, to find the truth. A better use of the Senate would be hard to imagine.

Dec. 17 2013 10:56 AM
mommabread from Rockland

Payback So this is why they now closed the upper level WEKDAY RUSH HOUR! HELP US 3 hour commute every night makes for many angry New Yorkers

Dec. 17 2013 10:30 AM

BENGHAZI!!!!

Dec. 17 2013 10:04 AM
CorruptGOP from New York City, NY

"Christie's got skeletons in his closet" Mitt Romney

Dec. 17 2013 07:51 AM
sentient savior

get the creeps...!!

Dec. 17 2013 06:37 AM

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