Port Authority Official: No Knowledge of Bridgegate Plot
The Select Committee on Investigation took testimony Tuesday from one of New Jersey’s six commissioners at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Pat Schuber became the latest witness to testify under oath that he had nothing to do with the unannounced access lane closures in Fort Lee leading to the George Washington Bridge.
“I just want to state very emphatically that I had no involvement in, nor prior knowledge of the decision which led to the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge,” said Schuber. “I would never condone the use of governmental powers to exact political retribution.”
The entire issue turned into a partisan political football according to Schuber who told the committee that he wanted nothing to do with the growing scandal.
State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, SCI co-chair, sent Schuber a letter in September asking about the lanes closures. At Tuesday's hearing - the committee, Schuber and the gallery in the hearing room were shown an email sent by former Port Authority chairman David Samson in which Samson used a choice word to describe Weinberg.
“I received a copy of Loretta’s letter to you about her being ‘disappointed…on a personal level.' What a jerk! Do you want me to do anything? D,” read Samson’s email to Schuber.
Top Democrats believe the lanes were closed to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor for refusing to endorse Gov. Chris Christie’s reelection bid. The governor has also denied any involvement and a legal team he hired to conduct an internal probe concluded Christie did nothing wrong.
Members of the SCI also asked Schuber about proposed reforms at the Port Authority. He does not agree with Christie’s idea to dismantle the authority and create two independent agencies.
“Are there significant changes that need to be made? Yes. Does the authority need to be blown up so to speak and removed?” I don’t think so,” Schuber said. “I do think that going forth the authority needs to be reformed. I think that’s important, but I would not want to see it, so to speak terminated.”
Reforms are already underway to improve transparency and oversight at the authority said Schuber.