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Political Retribution Led To Traffic Chaos In New Jersey

Governor Chris Christie's staff directed lane closures on George Washington Bridge

Evidence that lane closures on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge this past September were politically motivated landed today in the form of communications between New Jersey Governor Chris Christies's office and officials loyal to him at The Port Authority.

According to the The New York Times, emails and text messages surfaced suggesting political retaliation was behind the closing of three lanes on the busy bridge. The lane closures caused four days of gridlock in the town of Fort Lee whose mayor, Mark Sokolich, had recently refused to endorse Christie's bid for another term.

The lane closures snarled traffic and caused dangerous gridlock throughout the city. School children were late for their first day of school. reported the traffic jam delayed emergency vehicles and police responding to calls. The mess ended after Pat Foye, the Port Authority's executive director, lifted the lane closures. He called the actions taken by The Port Authority abusive and potentially illegal.

Christie's office claimed the lane closures were for a traffic study, according to The New York Daily News. Emails between Christie's chief of staff Bridget Ann Kelly and Christie's appointee to the Port Authority and old friend David Wildstein, however, told a different story.

"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" Kelly wrote in an email to Wildstein on August 13. The Port Authority's chairman, also picked by Christie, described in later emails his efforts to retaliate against officials who sought to ease the gridlock. Wildstein and another Port Authority director have resigned due to the scandal.

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