‘Bridgegate’ Isn’t First Time Christie’s Approach Has Taken Its Toll on Commuters

Decision to kill third tunnel under Hudson River and storing NJ Transit rail cars in Meadowlands during Sandy among other questionable moves

NJ Transit Train
The apparently politically motivated bogus “traffic study” that spawned the ‘Bridgegate’ scandal — and left thousands of motorists stuck in traffic jams for hours as they tried to cross the George Washington Bridge — isn’t the first time that Gov. Chris Christie has shown that New Jersey’s harried commuters aren’t exactly his top priority.

Almost since taking office, Christie has been on a collision course with commuters and people getting around his state.

There was his decision to kill a New Jersey Transit tunnel under the Hudson River. The ARC Tunnel would have eased local commutes and improved Amtrak’s capacity,

And then there was Hurricane Sandy. While New York’s MTA was preparing for climate change and intense storms, NJ Transit was missing warnings and making errors. Officials stored trains during Sandy in the Meadowlands —leading to a loss of about a third of the fleet and costing $120 million and months of frustrating commutes. Then, as now, Christie defended his team, while refusing to probe what they may have done wrong.

When pressed on why he didn’t check up more on the agency he runs — one with a half a billion dollars in assets at stake—the governor, characteristically, made a joke. “If I’m making the decisions at that level of specificity, then I’d be under water myself,” Christie told New Jersey Public Radio.

Reporter Andrea Bernstein of WNYC Public Radio, a partner of NJ Spotlight, looks at the New Jersey governor’s record on transportation infrastructure and public transit.

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