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Top Christie Port Authority appointees devised toll-hike plan in 2011 to bolster image of NJ, NY governors

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Top Christie Port Authority appointees devised toll-hike plan in 2011 to bolster image of NJ, NY governors

SATURDAY, MARCH 1, 2014    LAST UPDATED: SATURDAY MARCH 1, 2014, 11:53 PM
BY  SHAWN BOBURG
STAFF WRITER
THE RECORD

Years before they resigned amid a scandal over politically motivated lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, Governor Christie’s top two executives at the Port Authority led a secretive campaign to quickly push through controversial toll hikes on the Hudson River bridges and tunnels by drowning out criticism, limiting public input and portraying the governors of New York and New Jersey as fiscal hawks who reined in an out-of-control agency.

At its heart was a plan to have the Port Authority, an independent bi-state agency, propose an enormous toll hike — a $6 increase that would bring the E-ZPass toll to $14 by 2014 — so that the governors could then scale it back. The smaller increases that were ultimately approved in 2011 — $4.50 over four years — allowed both governors to claim credit while they set the stage for each state to claim hundreds of millions of dollars to fund pet projects not directly related to the Port Authority.

It was a sleight of hand that began with a campaign-style operation that, according to interviews with more than a half-dozen people familiar with the operation, was run out of a conference room on the southwest corner of the 15th floor of the Port Authority’s Manhattan headquarters.

– See more at: https://www.northjersey.com/news/Christie_appointees_at_Port_Authority_led_a_secret_toll-hike_push.html#sthash.W3PeBZ0T.dpuf