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Amid Port Authority Scandals, State Sen. Suggests Rethinking PATH Extension To Newark Airport

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- With the resignation of the chief executive officer of United Airlines amidst allegations of trading favors with former Port Authority Chairman David Samson, a New Jersey state lawmaker was raising questions Thursday about the planned PATH Train extension to Newark Liberty International Airport.

"Why is this number one on their priority capital list?" said state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck).

As WCBS 880's Jim Smith reported, Weinberg called for the $1.5 billion project, which is still in its infancy, to be put on the backburner before any money is spent.

"At this time in particular, it should be held up until the outcome of this investigation is complete," she said.

Amid Port Authority Scandals, State Sen. Suggests Rethinking PATH Extension To Newark Airport

Weinberg said the money would be better spent on a new Port Authority Bus Terminal, or rail tunnels under the Hudson River. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the PATH extension was proposed long before Samson was chairman.

United Airlines chief executive officer Jeffrey Smisek and two other top executives abruptly resigned Tuesday amid a federal investigation into the possible trading of favors between the airline and Samson.

When Samson was in charge at agency, United resumed direct flights to the South Carolina airport near his vacation home. Around the same time, United was pressing for concessions from the agency, including a new hangar at Newark Liberty International Airport, rent reductions and a commuter rail-line extension that would connect the airport directly to lower Manhattan.

No one has been charged in the case. A spokeswoman for Samson on Wednesday said only that Smisek's resignation ``is a United Airlines matter.'' A Port Authority representative had no comment.

The investigation was an offshoot of the so-called Bridgegate case.

A former deputy chief of staff for Gov. Chris Christie and two former top executives at the Port Authority -- were charged last spring with closing lanes and engineering all-out gridlock at the foot of George Washington Bridge in September 2013 to exact revenge on the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee who declined to endorse Christie's re-election bid. Christie has denied any knowledge of the plot.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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