MSNBC host Steve Kornacki proposed another rationale explaining why the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie chose to close lanes to the George Washington Bridge in September, beyond the obvious charge of political payback after the mayor of Fort Lee withheld an endorsement.
Christie’s team wanted to damage negotiations around the development of prime real estate at the foot of the bridge, some of the last undeveloped land in New Jersey within sight of New York City.
The 16 acres of undeveloped land at the edge of the George Washington bridge are to become a billion-dollar mixed-use retail area under a development plan that Fort Lee Mayor “has made his defining mission as mayor,” Kornacki said. “It is his legacy.”
However, at the time of the lane closures, one $216 million segment of the development hadn’t yet announced investment funding. The three lanes closed on the George Washington Bridge also happen to be the lanes that would have served the redevelopment area. “Thanks to those local access lanes, the town wouldn’t have to worry about a glut of new traffic, and the developers and tenants could sell investors and tenants on the easy ride to New York City.”
Developers announced funding for the project segment on the third day of the closures.
Watch a video describing the project and the closures below.