Report: Investigation into Port Authority roadwork projects escalating

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More than 15 Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials, including three attorneys of the bi-state agency, have obtained legal counsel as part of the investigation into the decision to reallocate $1.8 billion in toll money from its Hudson River crossings to fix roads in New Jersey, according to The Record

Photo of the Pulaski Skyway, courtesy of NYCroads.com.
Photo of the Pulaski Skyway, courtesy of NYCroads.com.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The investigation, conducted by both the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, focuses on whether the Port Authority misled investors and bondholders in 2011.

Specifically, “when it agreed to use toll money to rebuild the 3.5-mile Pulaski Skyway and three other major New Jersey state roads at the behest of the Christie administration. Laws limit the bi-state agency’s spending to projects associated with its own facilities,” The Record wrote.

“The Port Authority quietly justified the spending by labeling the highways as access roads to the agency’s Lincoln Tunnel — even though they are miles from the tunnel, do not connect to it directly and do not generate any revenues for the Port Authority.”

“Agency lawyers described the repairs in bond documents as “access infrastructure improvements” to the Lincoln Tunnel,” the report also says.

The eastbound portion of the skyway, which connects Newark to Jersey City, has been subject to closures since April as road repairs began to replace the entire bridge deck.

In light of The Record’s story The Jersey Journal wrote that Union City’s New York Avenue rehabilitation project may also be under investigation, since the city paid for the improvements but would eventually be reimbursed by the Port Authority.

Union City Mayor Brian Stack, also the state Senator of the 33rd District, denied that Union City was involved in any aspect of the investigation.