By VICTOR E. SASSON
John Wisniewski, the state assemblyman with the hard-to-pronounce name, is starting to sound like a Hebrew National hot dog commercial.
Grilled by Columnist Mike Kelly of The Record on who ordered The Traffic Jam That Ate Fort Lee back in September, the head of the Assembly Transportation Committee answered mysteriously:
"It came from a higher authority" (A-6).
We all suspect he is referring to Governor Christie, the Portly Authority whose flunkies have resigned in the wake of the Fort Lee-Port Authority brouhaha.
Would Christie's political retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee -- by closing two Fort Lee access lanes to upper-level George Washington Bridge toll booths -- be such a big deal?
Given that the Hudson River flows under the bridge, will this be Christie's Watergate and so scandalous it will derail his bid for the White House in 2016?
But The Record loves this story, even as it shies away from detailed reporting on a story with far wider implications: the GOP bully's mean-spirited policies and his mismanagement of state finances.
Kelly's Page 1 column today claims the lane closures led to "paralyzing gridlock" on four days in September, even though drivers using the lower level, as well as another Fort Lee access lane to that truck-free level, experienced no delays.
Since the first Road Warrior column on the Fort Lee mess, much of this reporting, especially when it appears on Page 1, is a waste of space.
That's especially true when The Record continues to ignore a far bigger story: Christie's well-known anti-mass transit stance and the Port Authority's refusal to expand bus service into Manhattan.
The Addled Commuter
Whether as the result of a hangover or advancing Alzheimer's disease, Wednesday's Road Warrior column confused a new parking garage for commuter buses in Manhattan with whether the midtown Port Authority Bus Terminal needs to be renovated.
According to a concerned reader, who maintains a Facebook page for Road Warrior Bloopers:
"In his first column of the new year, Road Warrior John Cichowski refuses to heed the wishes of so many readers and continues on his merry way of delusional, false, over-exaggerated and clueless statements about past and future wishes for New Jersey and metropolitan area transportation issues and laws.
"The Road Warrior tries to make readers believe there is a New Jersey statute that specifically makes it a violation for drivers to be drunk while stopped in traffic.
"Drunk people in New Jersey are not allowed to operate a car, period. It does not matter whether the car is moving or stopped anywhere, or whether it is in the middle of the road or in a parking lot.
"Road Warrior indicated that $800 million had been proposed to renovate the midtown Port Authority Bus Terminal, even though it contradicted The Record’s own report that the plan was for a new parking garage for buses that are now parked on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel."
For the full e-mail to managers and editors, see:
Readers prepare silver alert for John Cichowski
A modest proposal
If the Port Authority won't add a second express lane dedicated to commuter buses during the morning rush hour, the existing express lane can be revived during the afternoon rush for buses that were parked in New Jersey and must return empty to pick up passengers in Manhattan.
Now, they add to incredible congestion on the eastbound helix to the Lincoln Tunnel.
Reverse bus lanes don't reduce toll revenue from drivers who would otherwise be displaced by a second, eastbound bus-only lane.
Deputy Assignment Editor Dan Sforza apparently has ordered Shawn Boburg, the reporter who covers the Port Authority, to ignore any story about the bistate agency's mass-transit operations.
Boburg's story on tonight's expected snowstorm appears on L-2, predicting near-blizzard conditions for North Jersey.
This morning, radio news reports predict blizzard conditions only on Long Island.