Chris Christie’s staff keeps on talking – and now the New Jersey governor isn’t alone in their crosshairs. On Sunday, March 2, New Jersey’s Bergen Record broke a story implicating Christie’s involvement in a calculated show political theater back in 2011.
And New York’s Democratic Governor Cuomo was in on it as well.
The Record spoke to “more than a half-dozen people” with intimate knowledge of the scripted show. Each person was interviewed separately, held varied positions, and had independent knowledge of the goings-on – and they all told consistent tales.
Long story short: the Port Authority proposed a huge toll hike on the Hudson River’s bridges and tunnels – $6 to up the toll to $14 by 2014 – then Cuomo and Christie came in to save the day, rallying to push the increase down to $4.50 over four years. A toll hike may sound like nothing with nothing to those outside the area, but they have always been a “politically sensitive” subject to the numerous commuters who cross the Hudson either direction every single day to get to work.
And apparently the Port Authority, a (theoretically) independent agency for both NY and NJ, purposely proposed the extravagant $6 increase to get the populace riled up. This allowed for a bipartisan show of heroism – and for both states to gain tons of money to fund projects that have nothing to do with the Port Authority, namely a “reanimation of a regional bank program” worth just under a billion dollars.
So allegedly the Port Authority worked in conjunction with both Cuomo and Christie’s staff to purposely put forth a plan their constituents would hate just so both governors could come out looking like fantastic dudes with commuters and taxpayers’ interests at heart.
If this alleged tale turns out to be true – there’s basically no way for either Cuomo or Christie to come out and say they had no idea what was going on.
Rumors of Christie seeking a presidential bid have been swirling for eons and talk of Cuomo throwing his hat into the ring have reignited. It’s rare to see a hit on members of both major parties at the same time, which – in my humble opinion – lends more credibility to this story.
The lurid tale seems to come right out of a movie. NY and NJ executives working out of a nicknamed “War Room” on the fifteenth floor of the Port Authority’s Manhattan location. Next to no one from the Port Authority’s senior staff was allowed in. The entrance had a “do not enter” sign affixed to the door. Those involved swore an oath of silence. They even packed public hearings with false supporters.
The Record reported that Maggie Moran – a part of the Laborers’ International Union of North America – assisted in organizing an enormous union turnout in support of the astronomic toll hike. This is especially fishy given that the public meetings were at inconvenient times (rush hour) and barely publicized. And eight of these meetings were held on the same day. This gave the governors easy talking points.
The enormous turnout in support of the hikes when very few in opposition could attend seems very… unnatural.
I’ll leave the final word here:
The thing is, a former Port Authority official told The Star-Ledger, “It was all bullshit.”
At this point in time, this story is only just beginning. It’s made the rounds in the tri-state area’s local news, but as more information comes to light, this could spell disaster for Cuomo’s White House aspirations and put the final nail in the coffin for Christie.
Political theater of this sort isn’t rare, but it’s the last thing two rumored-to-be presidential contenders want to hear so close to 2016. Neither governor’s office have offered any comments (yet). It could explain why Christie may have called Cuomo to ask for the latter’s Port Authority appointee to back off investigating Bridgegate.
Certainly Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton will be pleased by the news.