Politifact Gives Gov. Christie ‘Pants On Fire’ Rating For Claim About Traffic Scandal

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Politifact doesn’t buy one of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) claims about the growing scandal over traffic lane closures on the George Washington Bridge last September. On Sunday, the fact checking site’s Garden State outpost slapped Christie with a “pants on fire” rating for his claim that three lanes on the bridge were unfairly dedicated to the borough of Fort Lee, N.J.

The closures led to days of gridlock in Fort Lee, and some Democrats have alleged the bridge lanes were shut because the local mayor did not endorse Christie’s re-election bid. Christie and his top appointees on the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which oversees the bridge, have said the closures were part of a traffic study dedicated to analyzing whether there was a fair number of local access lanes for the town. Christie criticized the number of lanes he said were “dedicated” to Fort Lee earlier this month and reiterated this opinion in a press conference last Thursday.

“The fact that one town has three lanes dedicated to it, that kind of gets me sauced,” Christie said on Dec. 2.

However, Politifact determined the local access lanes are not specifically “dedicated” to Fort Lee and are, in fact, open to the public. 

“Christie is way off here,” Politifact wrote. “The facts are that the George Washington Bridge is physically in Fort Lee and there are local access lanes from the bridge. But none of the lanes are dedicated for use only in or by the borough. All motorists are able to use them as an entry point to the span.” 

Christie’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Politifact’s ruling. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hunter Walker is a national affairs reporter for TPM. He came to the site in 2013 from the New York Observer. He has also written for New York Magazine, Gawker, the Village Voice, Forbes, The Daily, and Deadspin. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com
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