Port Authority spends $1.75M on lawyers in bridge case

WOODLAND PARK, N.J. (AP) — Public records show the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has spent $1.75 million on lawyers to defend the agency during an investigation into whether it was wrong to use toll money to fix New Jersey roads.

The Record (http://bit.ly/1VyM0cv ) reports that the legal bills are more than double what the agency spent during a probe into a higher-profile on-ramp closure scandal that resulted in criminal charges against three former allies of Gov. Chris Christie.

No charges have been announced in the investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Port Authority is using $1.8 billion in toll money from Hudson River crossings to rebuild the Pulaski Skyway and three other New Jersey roads, a policy urged by Christie's administration.

The legal question is whether the Port Authority misled bondholders and investors. The agency is authorized to spend toll money only on projects associated with its own transportation facilities. Agency lawyers have said the New Jersey road repairs are justified because they're on roadways that lead to the Lincoln Tunnel, though they are miles away and do not connect directly to it.

Eleven law firms have been involved in the work on behalf of the Port Authority and its employees.


Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com