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Statement of Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski in Response to Governor Christie’s Comments Regarding the Port Authority Subpoena Power Granted to the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee

(TRENTON) – Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D – Middlesex) released the following response to Governor Christie’s comments today regarding the Assembly Transportation Committee’s investigation of the Port Authority:

“I am surprised by the Governor’s attack today, and disappointed to learn that he disagrees with the vast majority of New Jersey residents who want to see proper oversight of the Port Authority.”

“While the Governor may have been — in his own words — ‘throwing subpoenas around’ when he served as U.S. Attorney, this is the only subpoena power the Transportation Committee has requested in over a decade. It comes after two scathing audits of the Port Authority’s operations in less than a year; a history by the agency of stonewalling repeated open records requests for information by legislators, the press and the public; and a deliberate strategy to suppress payroll data. It also follows the approval of a plan for huge toll and fare hikes that the agency justified as necessary to fund the rebuilding of the World Trade Center in proposing them, and then denied had any such relationship to the rebuilding when sued by the American Automobile Association. Even then, the committee invited the agency to appear voluntarily to discuss these and other issues — an invitation the agency declined.”

“The approval of subpoena power for the Assembly Transportation Committee and the scheduling of a joint hearing of New York and New Jersey legislative committees to investigate the operations of the Port Authority are actions that were taken only as a last necessary resort. They are a response to the sheer hubris of the Port Authority’s repeated refusal to recognize that they are accountable to the public. For Governor Christie to claim these actions are nothing more than politics shows he is out of touch with the problems facing New Jersey’s hard working middle class and reflects an insensitivity to the struggles of the taxpayers who have to pay the Port Authority’s bills.”