Today, news site NorthJersey.com, the web presence of The Bergen Record, released emails they obtained (pdf) that tie the closures of those lanes directly to the Governor's Office. Quoting their story on those emails:
The messages are replete with references and insults to Fort Lee’s mayor, who had failed to endorse Christie for re-election and they chronicle how local officials tried to reach the Port Authority in a vain effort to eliminate the paralyzing gridlock that overwhelmed his town of 35,000, which sits in the shadow of the bridge, the world’s busiest.
Needless to say, Mayor Sokolich is pissed, and two Democratic NJ legislators are calling for a Federal investigation into the matter. You can read more about this at CBS, the New York Daily News, or elsewhere.
Why, you ask, does this story have national importance? This poll illustrates why:
CNN/ORC Poll released 26 December 2013:
For President (General, 2016)
Chris Christie (R) 48%
Hillary Clinton (D) 46%
N=950 registered voters nationwide
Simply put, if Hillary Clinton decides to run for President, Chris Christie is the only Republican who stands a good chance of beating her. She creams everyone else in the field. It's therefore to the Democrats' advantage to paint Christie as a petty, spiteful jerk who's not above abusing his power over relatively minor slights. For this reason, I pretty much ignored the reporting of this story on MSNBC and other talking head outlets as having ulterior motives. These emails change all that, because they give the story real weight. Not to mention legs.