Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What's going on in New Jersey?

I grew up in New Jersey, and because I went to school in New York I spent many hours sitting on a bus on the Jersey side of one of the Hudson River crossings, often the George Washington Bridge. It's painful sitting there, not moving, watching the time advance to the inevitable late arrival at school and the punishment, "jug" (traditionally from the Latin word "jugum", which means "yoke") that was sure to follow.

Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure I never got delayed for hours because the governor ordered several lanes of traffic shut down because he wanted to punish the mayor of Fort Lee for not supporting his reelection bid. No, that particular instance of malfeasance had to wait for Chris Christie, who is obviously gearing up for a presidential candidacy.

At this point we don't have the facts one way or the other, but we do know two things:

First, the excuse being put forth by Christie's people, that it was done to carry out a "traffic study", seems transparently bogus, at least until they can present affirmative evidence of the planning for the study, the study design, testimony from traffic engineers, study results, and the like. Maybe evidence will be forthcoming, but I kind of doubt it.

Second, can anyone doubt Christie's capacity to carry out such a vindictive act?

The local newspaper, the (Bergen Evening) Record, is demanding answers:

While partisan politics are certainly afoot here, Democrats are right to press the issue. We still need to know why average commuters were inconvenienced when two of the three approach lanes to the bridge from Fort Lee local streets were suddenly closed for five weekday mornings.

Recent testimony in Trenton by Bill Baroni, the authority's deputy executive director and a Christie appointee, vaguely attributed the lane closings to a traffic study. That served only to confuse things and to confirm the view that the Port Authority is unresponsive to public concerns.

What the public still deserves to know is why the lanes were closed, why no one was told about the closures in advance and what closing the lanes accomplished. Answers to these questions should not be state secrets.

Even if you don't follow North Jersey news, this is worth paying attention to.

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June 02, 2018 10:58 PM  

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