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Christie selects Richard Hammer for top DOT post

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Just days after nominating Ford Scudder to be the state's next treasurer, Gov. Chris Christie aimed to fill another cabinet vacancy Friday by naming Richard Hammer as his pick for the next Department of Transportation commissioner.

Hammer currently serves as an assistant commissioner at NJDOT and is responsible for managing the department’s Capital Program Management Section. He has spent 33 years at NJDOT in various capacities, according to the administration.

“I am pleased to name Richard Hammer as our next Transportation Commissioner,” said Christie in a statement. “Rick’s 33 years of service to New Jersey and the department bring a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the transportation challenges that face the Garden State. I appreciate him stepping up to this next challenge in his long career of public service at the Department, and look forward to having him join my cabinet.”

According to the administration, Hammer, a Rutgers graduate and Monmouth County resident, has been involved in a number of major infrastructure projects, from the ongoing rehabilitation of the Pulaski Skyway to the post-Superstorm Sandy work done on Route 35.

Hammer will now look to replace current Commissioner Jamie Fox, who somewhat abruptly announced at the beginning of the month his intentions of leaving his post by October’s end.

Fox’s most recent tenure was his second stint leading the department, but lasted just short of a year.

While Fox’s name has surfaced in reports pertaining to the ongoing federal investigation into the dealings between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and United Airlines — which Fox previously lobbied for — he has maintained that his resignation is unrelated to the matter

Instead, the Democrat has expressed frustration over failing to secure a funding source for the state’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund, which he says he had given himself a year to do when he accepted the position.

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