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American Shipper

New PANYNJ executive director, board chair named

The governors of New York and New Jersey on Aug. 2 announced the appointments of Kevin O’Toole as board chair and Rick Cotton as executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ).

   A new executive director and chairman of the board have been named for the Port Authority of New York and Jersey (PANYNJ).
   New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Aug. 2 announced the appointments of Kevin O’Toole as board chair and Rick Cotton as executive director of the bi-state port authority. O’Toole and Cotton replace Pat Foye and John Degnan, respectively.
   Foye announced in August 2016 that he was resigning as executive director after being passed over for the job of PANYNJ CEO. He had been appointed executive director of the port authority by Cuomo in October 2011.
   Foye played a pivotal role during the Fort Lee closure, also known as the “Bridgegate” scandal, during which a staff member and political appointees of Christie colluded to create traffic jams in Fort Lee, N.J., by closing lanes at the main toll plaza for the upper level of the George Washington Bridge in September 2013.
   It was Foye that ordered two lanes to be reopened, thus ending the weeklong traffic back-ups and gridlock.
   Degnan, who was seated on the board in July 2014, resigned as chair effective Aug. 3. In his resignation letter, he said he did not plan to serve on the board after Christie’s tenure as governor ends next January.
   “I believe this is the appropriate time for me to depart and for new leadership to guide the port authority,” Degnan said in his letter.
   O’Toole and Cotton will assume their new positions following the Aug. 3 meeting of the Board of Commissioners, the governors said.
   “With major infrastructure projects across the region underway, including the new JFK and LaGuardia Airports, the port authority has unprecedented momentum, and Rick Cotton has the experience and tenacity to continue moving these transformative projects ahead and lead the organization into the future,” Cuomo said in a statement.
   “I can think of no one better than Kevin O’Toole to assume the port authority chairmanship at this point, with New Jersey and New York moving forward with the most important project in generations to impact commuters and the economy in the Northeast Corridor, the Gateway Program,” Christie said.
   O’Toole is the managing partner of law firm O’Toole Scrivo Fernandez Weiner Van Lieu, LLC and in June concluded a long career in the New Jersey Legislature.
   Cotton, since January 2015, has served as Gov. Cuomo’s Special Counsel for Interagency Initiatives, overseeing most of the governor’s major downstate infrastructure priorities including LaGuardia and JFK Airports, the Penn-Farley Complex, the new Tappan Zee Bridge and the expansion of the Javits Center.