How Chris Christie Throws Reporters Off the Scent of His Worst Transit Sins

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently vetoed a proposal to reform the Port Authority. Photo: Wikipedia
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently vetoed a proposal to reform the Port Authority. Photo: Wikipedia

New Jersey governor and Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie is back in the news for a decision that says a lot about his legacy as a governor.

Over the Christmas holiday, Christie and his New York counterpart, Andrew Cuomo, vetoed legislation to reform the bi-state Port Authority, which among other responsibilities handles transportation infrastructure linking New Jersey and New York City. Their counterproposal avoids substantial reform and includes the possibility of cutting off overnight PATH transit service, which has been getting most of the press attention. This comes a few years after Christie killed the ARC transit tunnel under the Hudson River for political reasons.

Benjamin Kabak at Second Avenue Sagas writes that Christie’s transit decisions should really anger a lot of his constituents, but he seems to have a way of playing the press to minimize the damage:

Christie established his conservative bona fides by canceling the [ARC] project despite the fact that his cost overrun projections were based on spurious data and that New Jersey likely could have worked out a deal with the feds and even New York to split overruns. But while Christie faced some criticism for the move, it was muted especially from New Jersey transit advocates who never supported the deep cavern alignment for the tunnel and wanted the Alt G version instead. So while Christie sometimes faces irate commuters on Twitter, he gets a pass, and editorial writers who try to tell the full story face a Sisyphean task.

Ironically — or perhaps intentionally — the Port Authority reform report that Christie signed endorsed a new Hudson River crossing which allowed for another round of hand-wringing over Christie’s duplicity. Again, though, the focus has been on the inconsistency of these statements rather than on the affect of Christie and Cuomo’s veto of the reform measures. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Bike PGH reports that Pittsburgh is planning to dramatically increase its budget for cycling infrastructure. Transport Providence uses a single bus route to illustrate the problems with Rhode Island’s RIPTA transit service. And Streets.mn spends some time questioning the familiar refrain: “but people like their cars.”

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