In the latest sign that Chris Christie has not escaped the Bridgegate scandal that has plagued his administration, the Record reported Wednesday that 11 police officers stationed near the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 10, 2013, were ordered not to reopen two lanes despite reporting “terrible” traffic jams to their superiors. According to the report, when Steve Pisciotta, a 12-year veteran of the Port Authority police force, expressed worry about traffic cones blocking lanes, he was told by his superior to “shut up.” Other officers reported additional instructions to avoid mention of the jam, caused by traffic cones blocking two of the three available lanes.
The Record report was just the latest headache for New Jersey's Republican governor, who has consistently denied personal involvement in Bridgegate. Earlier this week, the state legislative panel investigating the incident sought to obtain text messages between the governor and Regina Egea, an aide and governor liaison to the Port Authority, from AT&T. Egea has said that she had deleted the information.
No evidence has yet implicated Christie personally in the scandal, and no clear explanation has emerged for why the Port Authority chose to close down the lanes. An internal investigation commissioned by the Christie administration found that various government officials sought to punish Mark Sokolich, the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, but did not provide a reason why. Sokolich, a Democrat, declined to endorse Christie in his successful 2013 re-election campaign for governor.
As a popular Republican governor of a solidly Democratic state, Christie has been touted by political analysts as a possible contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. But while the Bridgegate scandal has caused Christie’s approval ratings to fall by more than 10 percent, polls show the governor still retains the support of more than half of New Jersey’s population.