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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Christie may be arrogant, but the Port Authority is worse
(Page 2 of 2)
New York’s executive director is Pat Foye, a respected Long Islander who has held such titles as vice president of the Long Island Power Authority and head of the United Way. He has held the Port Authority job for about three years, and has handled himself well. He works hard to keep a large bureaucracy as honest as possible.

Foye’s name has been in the papers for the past week because he was the one who objected to shutting down four lanes of the George Washington Bridge and questioned why such chaos was necessary. It doesn’t take much logic for anybody to figure out that shutting down a bridge isn’t a “traffic study.” It’s a plan to cause disruptions and headaches of major proportions for motorists.

It’s also pretty clear that when Foye objected to the shutdown, Christie’s appointed board chair told Foye that he didn’t understand New Jersey politics. So why should any of us care about this bridge fiasco? It’s because the Port Authority is the most arrogant governing body in our region. Over the years the state has gotten the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the subways, buses and commuter lines, to be a lot more responsive. The MTA can’t build anything without the permission of the State Legislature.

There are lots of other authorities in our area, and all of them are forced to be accountable. We have some good representatives from New York on the Port Authority board, but they aren’t the problem. The politics at the two-state agency have been ugly for as far back as I can remember. Maybe this scandal will result in some changes in a very arrogant operation.

Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column? JKremer@liherald.com.

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