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Senate Majority Conference Chairman Bob Gordon, D-Bergen, presides over a caucus meeting of the Senate Democratic Majority.

– Senator Bob Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic) issued the following statement today on passage by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee of two bills he is sponsoring to reform the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

S2181/A3417 will provide for a systemic overhaul of the agency by imposing comprehensive transparency and accountability standards, and represents the first major bi-state reform effort for the Port Authority since the GeorgeWashingtonBridge lane closings a year ago. S2183/A3350 would increase the transparency of Port Authority decision-making by subjecting the agency to the public record disclosure laws of both states. Identical bills passed both houses of the New York Legislature unanimously in June. The Senate has also approved both bills. Since the Port Authority is a bi-state authority, identical legislation must be passed and enacted in both states before it can take effect.

“The Port Authority is a multi-billion-dollar agency with a budget larger than many states, but right now it is accountable to only two people – the governor of each state. Today’s action was a major step forward in the effort to fix this dysfunctional agency. These bills will bring the Port Authority out of the dark ages to ensure greater accountability and transparency at all levels.

“These are important reforms that I believe would have prevented many of the problems that have come to light in recent months. They have passed the New York Legislature and the Senate in New Jersey. We are almost to the finish line and, for the sake of the public, we cannot afford to wait any longer to implement the fundamental changes needed to reform this bi-state agency. The law creating the Port Authority was enacted in 1921, and the fact is that little has changed since that time. These bills were a major undertaking involving legislators from two states who engaged in a bipartisan, bistate effort to overhaul the Port Authority, and require desperately needed reforms. I am encouraged by the overwhelming support we received in the Senate and by the committee, and I look forward to seeing the legislation reach the Governor’s desk.

S2181 is also sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle in the Assembly. The sponsors of the identical bill in New York are: New York State Assembly member James F. Brennan, chair of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions; New York State Senators Martin J. Golden, chair of Committee on Civil Service and Pensions, and Michael Ranzenhofer, chair of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions.