TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday appointed new leaders for the agency that controls the region's airports, bridges and tunnels.
Kevin O'Toole, a Republican former New Jersey state senator, was named chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Cuomo's special counsel for interagency initiatives, Rick Cotton, will serve as executive director, the governors said in a joint statement.
O'Toole succeeds John Degnan, who has served since 2014. Cotton follows Pat Foye, who became executive director in 2011.
Christie, a Republican, said he can think of "no one better" than O'Toole to oversee the agency as the Gateway project to revamp the rail tunnels beneath the Hudson River gears up.
Cuomo, a Democrat, said Cotton has the "experience and tenacity" to guide the Port Authority through infrastructure projects, including at the city's airports.
The announcement comes after the conviction of Christie aides over a political payback scheme involving 2013 lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, which the Port Authority oversees. Two Christie appointees served at the agency during the scandal.
O'Toole is a longtime ally of Christie's. As the top Republican lawmaker on a legislative panel investigating the bridge scandal, he put out a scathing report on how Democrats were handling the probe, calling it overtly partisan.