The agency that oversaw lane closures leading to a busy bridge last year — and which ensnared New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a political scandal in the process — formally apologized to commuters on Wednesday.
David Samson, who chairs the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, issued the apology during an agency board meeting, the New York Times reports, more than five months after lane closures on the George Washington Bridge snarled traffic in a north Jersey town, and at a time when Christie is trying to put the scandal that ensued behind him.
“On behalf of the board of commissioners, we are deeply sorry for inconvenience caused to our travelers,” Samson said. Referring to officials who resigned last year as questions were raised about whether the lane closures were politically motivated, Samson added: “I cannot allow this agency to be mischaracterized by the actions of a few individuals.”
Christie, a leading 2016 Republican presidential contender, saw his political future thrown into doubt earlier this year when documents emerged showing that aides had plotted to close the lanes leading from Fort Lee to the bridge in an apparent political payback after the town’s mayor declined to back Christie’s reelection campaign. The lane closures turned Fort Lee into a veritable parking lot for days. Christie apologized, fired a top aide and said he never knew of the plot. State lawmakers and federal authorities are investigating the matter.
The scandal briefly reignited late last month when a former Christie ally said “evidence exists” that Christie knew of the lane closures sooner than he maintained, something Christie has denied.