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Wisniewski Says Port Authority Needs Accountablity Following GWB Lane Closures

12-23-13

After conducting hearings for the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in September, Transportation and Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee Chairman Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D) is seeking to extend his subpoena power. Wisniewski told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he wants to finish the process.

“Well we would finish the work we’ve started,” said Wisniewski. “Clearly the testimony received from Bill Baroni, from Pat Foye and from the career employees at the Port Authority were only the tip of the iceberg.”

Wisniewski said that as late as Thursday night the committee received documents in response to the subpoenas. After listening to testimonies and reviewing documents, more questions have arisen, according to Wisniewski.

As for any involvement by Gov. Chris Christie, Wisniewski said that there are no documents or testimony that suggest the governor ordered the lane closures. But he did say two individuals with authority within the agency abused power and tried to conceal the lane closures without accountability. He also said that there needs to be an understanding of how it happened and how it can be prevented from occurring a second time.

After reviewing documents and testimony, Wisniewski said that the most surprising aspect surrounding the lane closures was the Navigant report on the Port Authority, which called the agency dysfunctional. He also said that the agency has a dual personality since both New York and New Jersey work together in the organization.

“What we found out is that those two personalities operate independently. They can watch in horror as one side does something and really not have a lot of say in stopping it or correcting the course of action,” said Wisniewski.

As for what the Port Authority needs in order to move forward, Wisniewski said that the agency needs an overhaul so there can be a greater level of accountability.