“Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni’s weeks-overdue resignation marks the conclusion of the first chapter of ‘Troopergate on-the-Hudson,’ but there is more work to be done to ensure the dangerous politicization of public infrastructure does not occur again.
The reckless and disturbing abuses committed by New Jersey Port Authority political appointees would have signaled a dangerous precedent if these actions went unchallenged. I am relieved that both perpetrators have bowed to mounting pressure, and are no longer in a command of taxpayer-funded resources.
While the removal of Mr. Baroni and Mr. Wildstein is a critical step towards restoring the public’s trust after this scandal, the more substantive analysis of how we can improve cooperation between both states’ appointees in this unique bi-state agency should continue. The internal Port Authority Inspector General’s investigation must also determine the scope and criminality of this embarrassing episode. New Jersey legislators have doggedly pursued the truth behind Mr. Baroni’s excuses, but New York State government has not yet had the chance to pose the many remaining unanswered questions.
I thank the elected officials and transportation advocates on both sides of the Hudson who joined me in calling for transparency and oversight of this incident, and for Mr. Baroni’s resignation. I again applaud Executive Director Foye’s refusal to tolerate these politically-motivated tactics and his immediate steps to reopen closed lanes.”
Additional background: on November 25th, Senator Espaillat wrote to committee chairs of the NYS Senate Transportation, Investigations and Public Authorities committees, urging them to convene a hearing into the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, as legislators in New Jersey have done. Earlier this week, Senator Espaillat joined Assemblymember Gabriela Rosa and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez in calling for Mr. Baroni’s resignation.