Traffic in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut) is fairly normal. At rush hour, the roads are packed to capacity, spilling over into residential areas, and making a 20-minute commute over an hour’s drive. Now even though this is literally an everyday occurrence, no one, absolutely no one is used to it, much less likes it.
In September of 2013, the incident known as the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, or Bridgeghazi, or my favorite, Bridgegate happened. In conspiracy to “commit fraud by exploiting the Port Authorities resources for political end,” three people were charged earlier this year. These three colluded by using their positions on the NY NJ Port authority to create lane closures in Fort Lee, New Jersey, leading to the George Washington Bridge. The closure created more than traffic, it caused the GW Bridge, Fort Lee, and surrounding areas to all but shut down for four days. It created havoc as the area was turned into a parking lot for the workweek, Monday through Friday.
There is no doubt that these actions were unethical and all out wrong, and the three involved were tried and indicted on these charges, but on the surface can you truly blame them? Just this past Thursday, the Port Authority unanimously voted at their monthly board meeting to limit board member conflicts of interest, whether they are real or perceived. One part of the rule states that board members must excuse themselves from matters that involve their clients. The other part of the rule states that board members are not allowed negotiating with people that are not on the board, about matters that the board votes on.
Now, these rules sound like common sense when it comes to ethics, but apparently weren’t. And now there are rules to deter people from doing these things, but is it too little, too late?