By Mike DeNardo

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — A new Jersey state senate panel today gave its approval for Governor Christie’s nomination of DRPA chief John Matheussen to be a Superior Court judge.

Members of the State Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Delaware River Port Authority CEO John Matheussen over the federal investigation into the agency’s economic development spending.  He said that when he got to the DRPA nine years ago,  $500 million in economic development spending was already planned (see related stories).

“It was never my intention to do economic development.  It wasn’t my goal to see that we do these things.  But it was my responsibility as the CEO to carry out the plans of the board.”

Matheussen’s nomination passed the committee, with “no” votes from Republican senators Gerald Cardinale and Michael Doherty.

Approval of Metheussen’s nomination by the full New Jersey Senate was expected.

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