Key Christie ally slated to lead the Port Authority

Chris Christie’s influence in regional government will continue after he leaves office in January.

Today, the New Jersey governor and Andrew Cuomo of New York announced their agreement to appoint former LD40 GOP state Senator Kevin O’Toole as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners and Rick Cotton as Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and Jersey.

The pair will replace Chairman John Degnan and Executive Director Patrick Foye.

“John Degnan’s leadership at the Port Authority will be remembered as a period when transparency and public access were greatly enhanced, and the agency recommitted itself to a core mission of transportation infrastructure. In thanking him for his extraordinary service, I also want to recognize his many years of dedication to public service in New Jersey over the past four decades and to wish him well in his next pursuit. ” Governor Christie said. “I can think of no one better than Kevin O’Toole to assume the Port Authority chairmanship at this point, with New Jersey and New York moving forward with the most important project in generations to impact commuters and the economy in the Northeast Corridor, the Gateway Program. Kevin is the right person at the right time.”

O’Toole was appointed to the authority earlier this spring but only recently left his Senate post.

Cotton has served as Governor Cuomo’s Special Counsel for Interagency Initiatives since early 2015.

Degnan had been appointed to lead the Authority out of the Bridgegate era.

Foye was a key figure in the aftermath of the scandal, testifying that he had protested the politically-motivated decision to close Fort Lee’s lanes to the George Washington Bridge in the run-up to Election 2013.