Infrastructure & Environment

Despite His Denial, Emails Tie Christie Administration to Controversial Lane Closures

One of the New Jersey governor's top aides ordered lane closures that gridlocked a town -- a move that Democrats say was political payback for the mayor's refusal to endorse Christie.
by | January 8, 2014
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had adamantly insisted that his staff and campaign were not involved in the lane closures. FlickrCC/Steve Fallon
 

A top aide to Gov. Chris Christie called for the closure of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge that caused a New Jersey town to become gridlocked for days, the New York Times reports.

The revelations, based on newly-released emails, is the clearest sign so far that a week of September traffic jams that mired Fort Lee, N.J. were intentionally ordered by Christie's administration.

Christie had adamantly insisted that his staff and campaign were not involved in the lane closures.

But according to emails obtained by the newspaper, his deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly signaled to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that the lanes -- connecting local traffic to the bridge -- should be closed.

"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," she wrote in an email to the Port Authority, according to the Times.

The reply from David Wildstein, the authority's director of interstate capital projects and a Christie ally: "Got it."

Democrats have long-believed the move was political payback for Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich's refusal to endorse Christie, the Wall Street Journal reports. Officials have maintained the closures were part of a traffic study.

The revelations contained in the emails could be damaging for Christie, who has sought to portray himself as a leader who is above partisan politics.

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