New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) still insisted on Thursday that New Jersey officials may have closed three lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September to study traffic patterns, directly contradicting statements Port Authority officials made last year.
“What I was told was that it was a traffic study, and there was no evidence to the contrary until yesterday,” Christie said at a press conference apologizing for his administration’s role in shutting down bridge lanes and causing potentially life-threatening traffic jams. “There still may have been a traffic study that now has political overtones to it as well,” he added.
But in early December, three Port Authority officials testified that “there was no traffic study being conducted while access lanes from Fort Lee on the George Washington Bridge were closed in September.”
Port Authority executive director Patrick Foye, a Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) appointee, testified on Dec. 9 that the study did not exist. New Jersey’s top official at the authority, Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni — a Christie appointee — had claimed the closings were for a traffic study. Baroni has since resigned.
Christie repeatedly floated the possibility of a traffic study on Thursday. “I don’t know if this was a traffic study that morphed into a political vendetta or a political vendetta that morphed into a traffic study,” he claimed.