Tag Archive: GW Bridge

News Roundup and Open Thread for Tuesday, August 11, 2015

TRANSPORTCLUSTERF*

Eyewitness news: Heading toward but not into the Lincoln Tunnel this morning, there were 100’s of busses stalled trying to get into the single bus lane leading toward the tunnel. On the way back 2 miles from the GW Bridge a sign indicated 34 minutes to cross the bridge. Yes, rain was a problem, but our system can’t handle rain or much of anything out of the ordinary.

Amtrak exec to Legislative Oversight Committee: Train delays in the tunnel may become more common. A new tunnel is needed like yesterday and might have been completed by 2018 had Christie not reneged on ARC. In the interim, there is no viable plan if one of the two tubes in the tunnel has to be taken out of service, Amtrak’s VP told the legislators – a virtual doomsday scenario.

After Labor Day: about a third of commuters rushing to the Port Authority Bus Terminal after work will have to get used to racing toward different bus gates. An improvement or just more chaos and unpleasantness?

CHRISTIEOLOGY – a weird science

Christie finds time to act on some of the 116 bills awaiting his action. Yesterday he vetoed S3107 which would have appropriated $300,000 for prepayment of a portion of FY 2016 employer contributions to the State Pension Plan, and S3100 which would have required the state to pay its pension contributions on quarterly basis. The latter bill would have not allowed Christie to hold all pension payments until the last moment and then claim he lacked sufficient funds. Both bills would have provided earlier payment which would help increase investment earnings of the plan. He also vetoed a transgender and a gun bill. In total he vetoed 13 bills. He signed 27 bills including ones to help those impacted by drug abuse and addiction. See a listing of each bill here.

Christie can tell a Boy Scout at a Town Hall about his security detail, but “Christie’s safety would be jeopardized if the state released a breakdown of more than $1 million in expenses his security guards have billed to state taxpayers,” Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled yesterday. She reached her decision after reviewing evidence presented in private by the head of Christie’s Executive Protection Unit. It’s hard to contest a decision reached in secrecy.

What’s Happening Today Mon. 12/09/2013

ON THE PORTFRONT

  • The NY/NJ Port Authorityy was created over 90 years ago during the progressive era with the aim of reducing political corruption. By making the authority an independent entity, it partially achieved the goal. However, in addition to the NY and NJ governors each having veto power, they also appoint the Board members and a substantial number of the highest level managers. The movie On the Waterfront with political and mob corruption may seem ancient history but where there is so much money, power, and huge projects the opportunity for good and evil is ever present.

  • Today at 10:00am in the Statehouse Annex the Assembly Transportation, Public Works, and Independent Authorities Committee under the chairmanship of John Wisniewski will take testimony from Gov. Cuomo appointee PA NY/NJ Executive Director Patrick Foye and others concerning the decision to reduce, without prior notice, the number of access lanes to the GW Bridge in Fort Lee in September. You can view and listen live here on the government website.

  • Questions: Christie appointee Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni in prior testimony said the lane closures were implemented only as “a traffic study,” but he admitted a communications failure and provided no documentation to substantiate the claim. Patrick Foye in an e-mail went further in saying that the failure to communicate may have violated laws. Then last Friday Christie appointee David Wildstein who appears to have ordered the change in access lanes abruptly announced his resignation. The basic questions, as in criminal matters, are: Were laws violated? Who did what? Why? How? What punishment is appropriate? And what will prevent it from happening again? Stay tuned. We may get some but probably not all of the answers today.

    Plinelands Commission & Board of Public Utilities: 5:00pm, Public hearing on a proposed South Jersey Gas pipeline through the Pinelands region, Galloway Township Municipal Building. According to EnviroPolitics Blog, The hearing is expected to attract both opponents (environmentalists) and supporters (unions) of the proposed 24-inch pipeline through 15 miles of the NJ Pinelands. The pipeline would carry natural gas to fuel the B. L. England power plant in Beesleys Point. If the line is denied, the plant will close.” Hearing updates can be tracked on Twitter and Facebook via the hashtag #NoSJGas. Do you want further encroaching on this priceless natural treasure?

    Senate Committee hearings

    Economic Growth: 10:30am. A bill (S2710) to create a social innovation pilot program that would encourage private investment in preventive and early intervention health care to reduce public expenditures related to those services.

    State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation: 1:00pm.

    Military & Veterans Affairs: 11:00am, Establish pilot program in DOE to recruit, select, and train veterans for school security position; to provide grants credit against business taxes to developer of rental housing reserved for occupancy by veterans.

    Judiciary: 2:00pm., to consider seven nominations.

    For more information on these meetings go here.

    Other events:

    Gov. Chris Christie: No public schedule.

    Flags today at half mast: “to honor the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.” – Gov. Christie