John Degnan, right, was nominated by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to chair the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie nominated John J. Degnan to be chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Tuesday.

The nomination comes in the midst of continuing controversy and investigation into the authority's ordering lanes closed at George Washington Bridge, apparently as political retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. Christie is a Republican.

It also comes about a month after David Samson resigned as chairman of the authority.

The New York Times and other publications had called for Samson's resignation. The Times said that Samson had improperly involved himself in several decisions at the authority in which his bond counsel firm, Wolff & Samson PC, had a vested interest.

New Jersey's governor has traditionally appointed the chair of the authority.

At the appointment news conference, Christie said of Degnan, "As many of you know, John is a registered Democrat and worked in the administration both as chief counsel and attorney general to [New Jersey Democratic] governor Brendan Byrne. But over his career John has shown over and over again that he is willing to put service to the state and its people before partisan politics."

The New Jersey Senate, which will conduct hearings on Degnan's nomination before voting on it.

The Port Authority's vice chairman, Scott Rechler, oversaw the Port Authority's April board meeting.

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