TRENTON, NJ-Fog seemed to abruptly engulf the west side of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey last week, with the resignation of New Jersey chairman David Samson and the floating of a notion for separation of the agency.
Gov. Chris Christie announced Samson’s resignation the day after a law firm hired by his administration released a report that cleared the governor of any involvement in “Bridge-gate.” That report also called for creating a bi-state commission to consider division of the PANYNJ.
At the same press conference where Christie announced Samson’s departure, he said he was open to the idea of dividing the agency which he appointed his long-time associate to chair five years ago.
In the wake of the scandal over closing of lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee last September that caused four days of gridlocked traffic, Samson and Pat Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, have sniped at each other.
Foye is a New York gubernatorial appointee. He said outright in a recent news interview that he thought Samson was unfit fit to lead the agency.
Samson’s deputy, David Wildstein, resigned several weeks ago as various investigations of the lane closings and the alleged political motivations behind them got under way.
In the report that cleared Christie, blame was assigned to Wildstein and Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly. She was fired after her role in instigating the closures was uncovered.
Where the PANYN leadership from New Jersey will come from in the immediate future is unclear.
The report by the law firm said this: “There should be a fundamental restructuring of the Port Authority, either by recognizing separate New York and New Jersey divisions going forward to permit each state to have primary responsibility for completing projects within their jurisdictions, or otherwise reorganizing to ensure independence and professionalism.”