Regulators in talks with NY, NJ Port Authority over road, tunnel probe

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 28, 2016 2:53 PM

By Hilary Russ

(Reuters) - Securities regulators are in discussions with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey over a "potential resolution" of their investigation into multiple road and tunnel projects, according to the authority's bond document for potential investors dated on Wednesday.

The Securities and Exchange Commission's probe is part of a sprawling web of investigations that began following the so-called Bridgegate controversy, the politically motivated closure of several lanes at the George Washington Bridge in 2013.

The scandal opened up the Port Authority to accusations that political interference had compromised its integrity. Federal criminal investigators in New Jersey and the Manhattan District Attorney also launched investigations into Bridgegate itself and other matters.

An ex-Port Authority official appointed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Christie's former deputy chief of staff are awaiting trial for allegedly orchestrating the lane closures.

The SEC's probe includes an examination of the cancellation of the Access to the Region's Core project in 2010 by Christie.

The project would have created a new commuter rail tunnel under the Hudson River. Christie canceled it because of concerns about cost overruns.

It is also examining whether the Port Authority improperly diverted its own money, which is supposed to be used to benefit regional projects, to New Jersey road and bridge projects instead, including the Pulaski Skyway.

A Port Authority spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Tom Brown and Meredith Mazzilli)