Cuomo Backs Christie in Bridge Lane-Closure Flap

Image: Cuomo Backs Christie in Bridge Lane-Closure Flap

Monday, 16 Dec 2013 06:35 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Neighboring New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday backed Chris Christie's explanation of a bridge lane closure that has ensnared the New Jersey governor in controversy for weeks, two reports said Monday.

Christie has insisted the lane closures in Fort Lee, N.J., leading to the heavily used George Washington Bridge into New York City, were precipitated by a traffic study.

Some Democrats, however, said the unannounced lane closures were pure political revenge — because Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich wouldn't join other New Jersey mayors in endorsing Christie for re-election.

"I am sure it is as Gov. Christie says it is," Cuomo said Monday, both the Daily News
and Wall Street Journal reported.

After a full six-second pause before that assertion, Cuomo remarked, however: "It's a season of loaded questions."

The controversy has led to the resignation of two officials of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the crossing: Bill Baroni, a Christie appointee, and Baroni's deputy, David Wildstein.

Cuomo suggested the resignations said it all.

"To the extent there was misbehavior by officials at the Port Authority, I think that has been addressed by the recent resignations," he said, adding:

"The governor and I have a good relationship — a professional relationship and a personal relationship," Cuomo said, The News reported.

"The issue of the traffic study was primarily a New Jersey incident, so our basic operating agreement is, when it has to do with New Jersey, Gov. Christie handles it. When it has to do with New York, I handle it. If it's a management issue, dealing with the port itself, we do it jointly."

Though Cuomo's support keeps him in Christie's good graces, it puts the New York executive at odds with Patrick Foye, the Port Authority's executive director, who testified under oath last week that he didn't know of any traffic study and wasn't sure why it was done, The Journal reported.

The Journal quoted unnamed sources who also are skeptical.

"There was no study," one source said, The Journal reported.

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