New Jersey Port Authority head said lane closures were illegal

The head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees operations at the George Washington Bridge, saw the lane closures on the bridge over four days in September as a violation of federal law, he said in an email released publicly on Friday.

"I believe this hasty and ill-advised decision violates Federal Law and the laws of both States," Pat Foye, the Port Authority's executive director, wrote in the Sept. 13 email.

ADVERTISEMENT
Foye announced in the email that was one of a number of reasons — including his belief that the closures endangered the safety of the local residents and impacted the economies of New York and New Jersey — he was ordering the lanes reopened.

A New Jersey state legislative committee investigating the scandal surrounding the lane closures released 1,000 pages of internal documents Friday that begin to outline the backdrop of the lane closures, which snarled traffic in Fort Lee, N.J., for four days and was seen by Democrats as an act of political revenge against Fort Lee's Democratic mayor for declining to endorse Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) for reelection.

Communications released earlier this week suggested a top Christie aide had a hand in orchestrating the closures. 

After three days of severe traffic on the bridge, Foye directed his deputies to reverse the lane closures immediately on Sept. 13.

“I am appalled by the lack of process, failure to inform our customers and Fort Lee and most of all by the dangers created to the public interest, so I am reversing this decision now effective as soon as TBT and PAPD tell me it is safe to do so today,” Foye said in the email.

He promised to further investigate the closures, which he said "damaged" the "public interest."

"To be clear, I will get to the bottom of this abusive decision which violates everything this agency stands for; I intend to learn how PA process was wrongfully subverted and the public interest damaged to say nothing of the credibility of this agency," he said. 

More in Blog Briefing Room

Christie criticized for remarks on killing of former intern

Read more »