Christie Aides Knew of Town’s GWB Sensitivities

FORT LEE, N.J. (AP) -

Fort Lee’s mayor pleaded for help in easing gridlock at the George Washington Bridge three years before two of the bridge’s approach lanes were suddenly blocked, which Democrats accuse Gov. Chris Christie of doing for political revenge, a newly unclassified report shows.

Mayor Mark Sokolich sought help in a letter sent to Bill Baroni in November 2010, which critics say shows Christie’s appointees at the authority knew of the borough’s sensitivities to congestion before they ordered the unannounced lane closures in September.

At the time, Baroni was the Port Authority’s deputy executive director. But he and another Port Authority executive, David Wildstein, recently resigned their posts amid investigations into how and why the lanes were closed in September. Democrats claim the closures were political payback for a Democratic mayor who would not endorse Christie for re-election, which Christie has denied.

The letter is among dozens of documents that show the Port Authority has given Fort Lee financial aid to help cope with hosting the world’s busiest bridge over the last 15 years. Sokolich has said he was ignored by the authority during the September lane closings, which turned the town into a parking lot for four days.