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Christie: PA Issues Need to be Discussed

The Bridgegate lane closure scandal has opened up new issues and controversies about operations at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Gov. Christie Monday said they need “careful” examination.Critics believe the bi-state agency is dysfunctional, involved in questionable real estate transactions, completely unaccountable and grants too much power to the governors of New Jersey and New York in making decisions and selecting officials that run the organization.

On Monday, a panel of experts made several recommendations in a new report to help restore accountability at the Port Authority and depoliticize the agency. They include  having the Port Authority board select an executive director after a nationwide search is conducted.

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Gov. Chris Christie (Photo by Annette Petriccione)

On Townsquare Media’s monthly “Ask the Governor” show Monday, Gov. Christie addressed the issues at the Port Authority.  “All these things are things that need to be discussed and considered, but we do need to remember that governor Cuomo and I are the only two people who are elected in either state, who have authority over the Port Authority, and I don’t know that people would want to go exclusively to a group of unelected people to be making these decisions regarding tens of billions of dollars, so I think we have to be careful about it.”

The governor also said he’s looking forward to reviewing all of the recommendations made and to have a “good conversation and dialogue” with New York governor Cuomo, with the aim of improving operations at the Port Authority.

Christie added “I’ve been very clear about the fact that reform is needed.”

When asked if the governors of New Jersey and New York have too much power over the agency, Christie said “we’ll have to look at that in the grand scheme of things. The overwhelming majority of staff there is professional staff that’s not picked by either governor, but there do need to be some people who are willing to implement the policies that we want to pursue.”

Experts noted in the report that the governors of New Jersey and New York are able to veto the action of any commissioner, which means the governors, not the Port Authority Board of Governors are really in control of the agency.

Four Port Authority officials have resigned since the Bridgegate scandal began, after it was learned one of them, who was appointed by Christie, had been directly involved in closing lanes at the George Washington Bridge last summer that created several days of traffic chaos.

More highlights from the April Ask the Governor program

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