Christie: George Washington Bridge lane closings 'not that big a - FOX 35 News Orlando

Christie: George Washington Bridge lane closings 'not that big a deal'

Posted: Updated:

ANGELA DELLI SANTI | AP

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday downplayed the closing of two approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge that prompted state and federal investigations and forced the resignation of his top two deputies at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

At a Statehouse news conference, Christie said the September lane closings that caused traffic backups in Fort Lee were "not that big a deal."

He said partisan politics and the media being "obsessed" with reporting the story are keeping it alive.

This is the second time in a week Christie faced questions about the lane closings that some Democrats believe were executed to pay back a Democratic mayor who refused to endorse Christie for re-election. Christie has denied it.

Christie said he has no reason to doubt his appointees, who maintain the closings were for a poorly communicated traffic study. No evidence of a traffic study has been produced.

Christie repeated Thursday that he doesn't remember ever meeting Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich and says there was no reason for him to have been on Republicans' radar as a potential endorser.

Christie won re-election by 22 points in November. His campaign actively courted Democrats to boost his bipartisan brand ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run.

Legislators in the state Senate and Assembly introduced a joint resolution Thursday calling on Congress to re-examine the organizational structure and operating procedures of the Port Authority and to take steps to end the dysfunctional practices that they say plague the bistate agency.

West Virginia Sen. Jay D. Rockefeller IV announced his intent this week to have the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee look into the lane closings. The Port Authority's Inspector General and the Assembly panel are conducting their own investigations.

The lane closings that began on Sept. 9, the first day of school in Fort Lee, caused massive traffic tie-ups in the borough at the foot of the world's busiest bridge. The local-access lanes were ordered re-opened after four days by authority executive director Patrick Foye.

Foye, appointed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, testified under oath in New Jersey that he had not been told about the lane closings before then.

The closings were ordered by David Wildstein, a onetime political blogger and high school friend of Christie's, who the governor named to a newly created six-figure job four months after being inaugurated. He worked under Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, a former Republican state senator and Christie ally, who was considered Christie's eyes and ears at the agency.

Both men have retained lawyers since resigning last Friday.

Christie named former federal prosecutor Deb Gramiccioni to succeed Baroni.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


  • New Jersey NewsNew Jersey NewsMore>>

  • Search for masked robbers in Caesars heist

    Search for masked robbers in Caesars heist

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:25 AM EDT2014-07-22 11:25:33 GMT
    The hunt is on in southern New Jersey for two suspects who made off with more than $180K from Caesars Atlantic City casino. The brazen robbers reportedly stole the cash from two plastic boxes on the casino floor. The robbery occurred on Monday at about 6 a.m. The masked robbers took off in a vehicle. The State Police Casino Gaming Bureau is handling the investigation.
    The hunt is on in southern New Jersey for two suspects who made off with more than $180K from Caesars Atlantic City casino. The brazen robbers reportedly stole the cash from two plastic boxes on the casino floor. The robbery occurred on Monday at about 6 a.m. The masked robbers took off in a vehicle. The State Police Casino Gaming Bureau is handling the investigation.
  • Repaving of Palisades Parkway begins

    Repaving of Palisades Parkway begins

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:42 PM EDT2014-07-22 02:42:19 GMT
    Crews have begun repaving along the Palisades Interstate Parkway. The last time such work was done on the road, which links New York state to the George Washington Bridge, was the mid-1990s.
    Crews have begun repaving along the Palisades Interstate Parkway. The last time such work was done on the road, which links New York state to the George Washington Bridge, was the mid-1990s.
  • Seaside Heights carousel up for auction

    Seaside Heights carousel up for auction

    Monday, July 21 2014 7:57 PM EDT2014-07-21 23:57:00 GMT
    The 82-year-old carousel on the Seaside Heights boardwalk survived Superstorm Sandy and a devastating fire, but it may not survive changing economics. The company that owns the carousel is selling it to make room for new attractions. An auction is planned for fall, with the hope that a buyer will take the entire ride and prevent it from being broken up and sold off piecemeal.
    The 82-year-old carousel on the Seaside Heights boardwalk survived Superstorm Sandy and a devastating fire, but it may not survive changing economics. The company that owns the carousel is selling it to make room for new attractions. An auction is planned for fall, with the hope that a buyer will take the entire ride and prevent it from being broken up and sold off piecemeal.
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices