N.J. bridge closures could spawn dozens of proposed laws

 New Jersey Sen. Kevin O'Toole, center, listens to Sen. John Wisniewski, standing right, as the legislative committee prepares to hear testimony on Bridgegate. (AP file photo/Mel Evans)

New Jersey Sen. Kevin O'Toole, center, listens to Sen. John Wisniewski, standing right, as the legislative committee prepares to hear testimony on Bridgegate. (AP file photo/Mel Evans)

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to make it a crime for a public official to interfere with transportation.

 

 

But that’s just one of the legislative measures expected to be proposed in the wake of the apparently politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in September.

“I think at the end of the day, hopefully by September or October, there will be 20 or 30 bills that will be born out of this George Washington issue,” said state Sen. Kevin O’Toole Monday.

His proposal calls for outlawing unauthorized interference with the ordinary progress of any form of transportation on roadways, bridges, railways, or waterways. Violators would face up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“I think what you’re looking at now is trying to take what some would view as a murky issue in the law as to what constitutes a crime and what doesn’t, and clearly … criminalizes it in black and white,” said O’Toole, R-Essex.

O’Toole, a member of the legislative panel that’s been investigating the events known as Bridgegate, said much of the legislation he expects to arise from the probe will focus on changes at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that operates the bridge.

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