With the Legislative Assembly approving the committee assigned to investigate the George Washington Bridge lane closures to move forward, Assemblywoman and former Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34) told NJTV News Anchor Harry Martin that she is not surprised that the investigation is moving forward.
“We have increasingly through the years been very disturbed with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and it is not surprising to me that we’ve finally hit a crash because this has been an agency that’s been out of control quite some time,” said Oliver.
Over time, the Port Authority has had an issue with transparency according to Oliver. Both Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assemblyman John Wisniewski have had difficulty with the Port Authority over transparency. Oliver said that when the Port Authority increased tolls last year, she had sent a letter to the agency asking questions on the increases and did not receive a response until three months later.
With the GWB lane closure investigations moving forward, Oliver said that the Assembly and the Senate will work together.
“I believe the Assembly and the Senate will get on the same page but the Assembly started this work months ago,” said Oliver. “The members of the Transportation Committee and its chairman, Chairman Wisniewski, they are far ahead in terms of data that’s been collected, people that they have interviewed throughout the past several months, even before the infamous closure of the lanes in Fort Lee.”
Prior to the lane closures, the Transportation Committee had been doing investigations on the Port Authority, financing of the Port Authority, the organizational structure and lack of transparency according to Oliver.
Along with the Assembly and the Senate committees, Gov. Chris Christie has a committee of his own investigating the lane closures. Oliver said that she does not know the terms or motivation that Christie’s administration may have for retaining a counsel for control of documents.
Oliver said that the Christie waited too long to address the lane closures and that there was an abuse of power with the lane closures.
“I think that when you listen to the tune of some of the communications, the use of expletive[s] and making reference to professionals in the press core,” said Oliver. “I think that we’re seeing unhinged massive abuse of power.”