Assemblyman and Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) issued the following statement in response to Tuesday’s announcement of a settlement agreement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
“With today’s settlement between the Port Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Port Authority commuters, once again, bear the brunt of Chris Christie’s mismanagement and corrupt administration. These hard-working people have suffered a traffic Armageddon at the George Washington Bridge, have seen four Christie appointees plead or be found guilty of using Port Authority resources for personal gain and now will have $400,000 meant to support the region’s transportation infrastructure diverted to pay a fine. All of these actions are the direct result of Governor Christie’s heavy-handed interference with a supposedly independent agency.
“The SEC settlement agreement also details Governor Christie’s plotting to redirect Port Authority money set aside for the proposed ARC tunnel to the state’s Transportation Trust Fund as early as May 2010, nearly six months before he cancelled the project. The document calls into question the Governor’s stated reason for cancelling – the fear of cost overruns – and suggests the Governor lied to New Jersey in an effort to have the Port Authority help him in his quest for the presidency. These questions need further investigation if we are ever going to understand how Christie manipulated the agency at the expense of New Jersey commuters.
“Despite the Port Authority’s suggestion that reforms have been instituted to prevent such problems in the future, evidence continues to suggest that the two governors who appoint the Port Authority’s board are treating the agency and its commuters like a personal piggy bank. They have stood in the way of real reform while demanding the agency fund their own pet projects at the cost of commuters. Sad to say, these abuses are likely to continue until we have governors who will stand up for commuters instead of standing in the way of real reform.”