Editorial: Why Bridgegate matters to you

Let’s talk about Bridgegate.

Before you stop listening, hear us out: despite all the headlines, this isn’t just a scandal about the future of Chris Christie’s political career. The future of the Port Authority matters to all of us.

Why? Tolls.

As Long Islanders, we feel the cost of the Port Authority’s dysfunction in our wallets whenever we want to leave New York. The cash tolls on the Port Authority’s bridges and tunnels are now $13, a 117 percent increase since January 2007. The tolls are scheduled to rise again by the end of the year.

Last year the Port Authority collected more than $1.3 billion in tolls, money that’s supposed to go toward maintaining the Port Authority’s facilities and making smart investments in the growth of the region.

But more and more, the Port Authority has been using money generated by bridges, tunnels and airports to subsidize projects that will never make money.

The real reason that Bridgegate matters is that Gov. Chris Christie and the New Jersey members of the Port Authority were using the agency to pay for projects across New Jersey. Every dollar that the Port Authority spends paying for roads, real estate and other non-essential functions brings the agency one step closer to another toll increase.

Without proper governance, we’ll never be able to stop the waste and corruption inside the Port Authority.

That’s why governors Cuomo and Christie need to get their act together and support reforms to the Port Authority. Those reforms need to be substantive and they should be include changes to the law in both New York and New Jersey.

That’s why Bridgegate matters to you.

Read Newsday’s editorial: http://nwsdy.li/UBsphY