Sunday, February 26, 2017

Degnan cites Christie's role in 'historic' Port Authority plan

Degnan: When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo engaged in shameful personal attacks Gov. Christie Christie put a stop to it.. (Aristide Economopoulos | NJ Advance Media, for NJ.com)


















In an Op-ed today in the Star-Ledger, Port Authority chairman John Degnan writes:

Last week's adoption by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey of a $32 billion 10-year capital plan was an historic event that could never have happened without the support of Gov. Chris Christie. 
The record amount of capital spending furthers recommendations of the 2014 Special Panel on the Future of the Port Authority and returns the agency to its core mission of transportation infrastructure with the most ambitious set of regional investments it has ever adopted.
Credit for the plan's adoption can rightly be shared among many people.  As a witness and participant in the lengthy and challenging process, it needs to be acknowledged that Christie was pivotal and instrumental in its final adoption.  Some contend he has been "disengaged" from the Port Authority over the past few years.  In reality and to the contrary, the governor has been an effective and persistent advocate for important components of the plan behind the scenes, without public fanfare, and I believe he is entitled to credit for that.
In the face of determined and vocal opposition by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the inclusion of adequate funding for the replacement of an aging and obsolete bus terminal, Christie drove a bargain to include $3.5 billion in the capital plan for that project, an amount that virtually guarantees its completion.
When Cuomo tried to renege on that commitment, Christie was adamant about its inclusion.  When Cuomo engaged in shameful personal attacks - including a call for my removal from bus terminal matters -- in an effort to assert his own control over the process, Christie put a stop to it.  
In the end, a chairman of the Port Authority rarely wins a battle with a powerful governor like Cuomo unless he or she has the firm and resolved support of the other governor, in this case Christie.
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