TRENTON – On the same day the Assembly Transportation Committee is scheduled to grill a former Port Authority employee over the infamous Fort Lee lane closures last September, a Senate committee is slated to vote on a measure to increase accountability at the bistate agency.
On Thursday, ex-Port Authority of New York and New Jersey appointee David Wildstein has been subpoenaed to appear and answer questions about the reported traffic study at the George Washington Bridge.
On the same day, the Senate will vote on a resolution sponsored by Sen. Loretta Weinberg, (D-37), Teaneck, that would urge Congress to re-examine the structure and management of the Port Authority, and to take measures to improve transparency and accountability for the safety of the region’s residents.
SCR169, introduced Monday, has an Assembly companion, ACR217, sponsored by Transportation Chair John Wisniewski, Gordon Johnson and Linda Stender. Weinberg’s resolution will be before the State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.
The controversy stopped being a matter of primarily local or state concern last month. W.Va. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, chair of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said he would launch a federal investigation into how the Port Authority is managed.
Wildstein, a former PolitickerNJ editor, quit the Authority after the lane closures that occurred in early September became a political firestorm. His boss, former N.J. state Sen. Bill Baroni, also turned in his walking papers over the controversy.
When Baroni appeared voluntarily before Wisniewski’s committee last year, he talked of the necessity of a traffic study because Fort Lee had three lanes dedicated to its commuters.
But the PA’s Executive Director, Patrick Foye, appeared before the committee later under subpoena and bluntly stated that there was no traffic study. And two other PA officials told the committee that Wildstein had instructed them not to discuss the upcoming lane closures with anyone.
The bistate agency oversees six tunnels and bridges between New Jersey and New York, the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, marine terminals and ports, the World Trade Center, and five airports.