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All that was political prelude to Wildstein’s appointment as Christie’s No. 2 appointee at the Port Authority, the agency tasked with overseeing transportation infrastructure around New York City and northern New Jersey.
Christie tapped Wildstein in 2010 to help reform the Port Authority, and he maintained close ties to the governor’s office and closely hewed to the governor’s agenda. Wildstein was involved in Port Authority plans supported by Christie to improve the Bayonne Bridge and build a new Goethals Bridge linking New Jersey to Staten Island, according to The Record.
Wildstein’s role in the George Washington Bridge scandal has been known since he admitted ordered the lanes closed in a move designed to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, a town at the foot of the bridge connecting New Jersey to Manhattan.
Kelly, who in the most damning of a batch of emails about the affair, wrote to Wildstein August, saying: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Wildstein replied: “Got it.”
In traffic-conscious New Jersey, it’s hard to underestimate the political damage of such a decision, even before news reports identified several ambulances that were delayed by the gridlock that resulted from it.
Wildstein announced his resignation from the agency in early December, saying the growing scandal had become a “distraction.” A spokesman for Christie praised Wildstein at the time as a “tireless advocate for New Jersey’s interests at the Port Authority.”