FORT LEE - A Port Authority executive admits that closing two lanes of the George Washington Bridge without notice in September was wrong and caused unnecessary delays, but adds that it was for a study on traffic.
Democratic lawmakers and members of the Assembly Transportation Committee sparred with officials at the Port Authority over the issue at the State House Monday.
Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni says two of three lanes for Fort Lee-based traffic were closed for a traffic study, but admits communication with the mayor of Fort Lee and local police could have been better.
"You're trying to tell us that there's a major study that had a major disruption on a major bridge has no paper trail?" says Assemblywoman Linda Stender. "That there's not a single email that explains how this was done? That defies all logic and nobody in this room believes that!"
Baroni says E-ZPass data shows Fort Lee traffic makes up less than 5 percent of GWB crossings, but gets exclusive use of three entrance lanes.
"Every one of you, every one of you on this committee has people in your communities who sit in longer traffic every day because of the special lanes for Fort Lee," Baroni says.
Other issues are raising tension at the Port Authority. Tolls will go up 75 cents starting next Sunday for E-ZPass users.