O’Toole Blasts Assembly Dems for Discriminatory Hearing on Lane Closures; Raises Concerns about Sweetheart Deal for Fort Lee
Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic) blasted Democrats for conducting today’s discriminatory Assembly Transportation Committee hearing about early September lane closures that affected the Fort Lee commuters without addressing why rest of New Jerseyeans must endure Fort Lee induced traffic every day.
“Today’s hearing is an example of the type of government waste that happens when out-of-touch Democrats try to score political points against an ever-popular governor,” O’Toole said. “What could possibly be the reason to hold a hearing specifically for Fort Lee commuters, to the determent of commuters from elsewhere?”
Of the 104,000 commuters who use the GWB, legislative Democrats conducted a hearing about less than 5 percent of the commuting base.
“Five legislative districts in this state have more commuters who use the bridge than Fort Lee, including nearly 6,400 from my District 40; 6,767 from District 36; 21,670 from District 37, which includes Fort Lee; 8,226 from District 38; and 8,316 from District 39,” O’Toole pointed out. “Are these New Jerseyans not as important as Fort Lee residents?”
O’Toole questions the “veil of secrecy” around why Fort Lee gets a sweetheart deal. There are 12 upper level lanes on the GWB — nine for the general population and three designated for Fort Lee. During the course of this study one lane was designated to Fort Lee and 11 to the other 95-plus percent of commuters.
“If we in the Legislature are interested in conducting a fair investigation about commuting, it must start by addressing the concerns of the 95 percent of commuters,” O’Toole concluded. “For example, why was a sweetheart deal done that gave Fort Lee three lanes and a dedicated exit? Who thought this was fair? If we are going to be honest with the citizens of New Jersey then let’s be honest, this certainly isn’t it.”