Port Authority Sets $1 Billion Muni Deal Amid Bridge ScandalBrian Chappatta
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency at the center of a scandal involving Governor Chris Christie’s staff, plans to sell $1 billion of taxable municipal bonds next week.
The debt matures in August 2046 and proceeds will finance redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, offering documents show. The agency, which also manages the New York City region’s three major airports and six marine-cargo terminals, borrowed a record $2 billion in 2012 for the World Trade Center.
Aides to the Republican governor ordered September lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which the agency runs. The move backed up roads in Fort Lee, the New Jersey town of 37,500 abutting the bridge to Manhattan, for days. The community’s Democratic mayor didn’t endorse Christie in his November re-election bid. The governor has said he had no knowledge of the act, which threatens his national political ambitions.
“The bond sale is still scheduled to go off as planned next week,” said Steve Coleman, a Port Authority spokesman.
Democrats who control the New Jersey legislature are investigating the traffic jam. The probe reached the top of the Port Authority as lawmakers subpoenaed Executive Director Patrick Foye along with members of Christie’s inner circle.
Christie’s deputy chief of staff for legislative and intergovernmental affairs sent a message saying it was “time for some traffic problems” to David Wildstein, a Christie appointee at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13. Wildstein has since resigned.
The controversy isn’t mentioned in the agency’s bond-offering documents.
The Port Authority’s bonds haven’t been punished in the $3.7 trillion municipal market. Instead they have rallied along with benchmark debt.
Agency bonds maturing in April 2037 traded today at an average yield of 4.62 percent, the lowest since Nov. 12, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The interest rate is about 0.86 percentage point more than benchmark munis due in 23 years.