News Column

Chris Christie May Be Facing Bridgegate II

June 24, 2014

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie  (file photo)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (file photo)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is facing what could be Bridgegate II -- an investigation into his plans to fund repairs to the Pulaski Skyway, the New York Times reports.

The problem is that the skyway, a dramatic 3.5-mile bridge-causeway over the Passaic and Hackensack rivers between Newark and Jersey City, belongs to the state. Christie got a 2011 agreement to use $1.8 billion in Port Authority of New York and New Jersey money to pay for a much-needed rehab.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the agreement, the Times said, citing documents, emails and sources close to the case. The investigation appears to have been sparked by the uproar over last year's lane closings on approach roads to the George Washington Bridge, which caused massive traffic jams for four days in Fort Lee, N.J.

Documents show that Port Authority lawyers said funding from the bi-state agency could not be used for a New Jersey project. The Port Authority eventually decided the skyway could be treated as an access to the Lincoln Tunnel, several miles away.

Port Authority bond documents described the project as "Lincoln Tunnel Access Infrastructure Improvements." Investigators are reportedly trying to determine if that language is misleading.

The George Washington Bridge lane closings, allegedly carried out by Christie's allies at the Port Authority as an act of political payback against the Fort Lee mayor, are under investigation by U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman and a state legislative committee. An investigation by a major law firm paid for by the state cleared the governor, putting most of the blame on his former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly.

Christie, who appears to harbor ambitions for the 2016 Republican presidential race, has declared Bridgegate over. Last week, he addressed a conservative religious conference in Washington.

The skyway opened in 1932 as a major link in U.S. 1, the highway that now runs from the Florida Keys to the Canadian border in Maine.

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Original headline: Report: Christie's use of Port Authority funds for Pulaski Skyway under ...


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