There is “zero evidence” that last year’s crippling George Washington Bridge closures were part of a “legitimate traffic study” by the Port Authority, a leading US senator charged Thursday.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee,
said a 12-page letter from the PA shows that its officials tied to the
“Bridgegate” scandal “did not follow their agency’s own procedures” and
engage in “careful planning and communication” before closing access
lanes that caused four days of massive tie-ups in September.
“The Port Authority’s response provides zero evidence that the
purpose of these closures was to conduct a legitimate traffic study,”
The West Virginia Democrat also called it “unconscionable that anyone
would block commercial traffic and risk the safety of thousands on our
interstate highway system in this way.”
In the letter dated Wednesday, PA Board Secretary Karen Eastman
called the lane closures “aberrational events” and said the board “still
does not have many of the facts as to the motivations behind actions
taken at the GWB.”
But the letter blamed the closures and other “operational decisions”
on since-resigned PA official David Wildstein, an appointee of NJ Gov.
Chris Christie, who last week was revealed to have gotten an email
saying “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” from a top Christie
During a marathon press conference last week at which he announced
the firing of Bridget Anne Kelly for her role in the scandal, Christie
claimed ignorance of the lane-closure scheme, adding: “I don’t know if
this was a traffic study that morphed into a political vendetta or a
political vendetta that morphed into a traffic study.”
Some reports have suggested that Fort Lee was targeted for
retaliation because Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich refused to endorse
Christie, a Republican, for re-election last year.