GORDON, VAINIERI HUTTLE ON FINAL APPROVAL OF BIPARTISAN, BI-STATE PORT AUTHORITY REFORM BILLS

Senator Bob Gordon, D-Bergen, speaks at a Budget Committee meeting in support of his bill to provide flood control funding for Bergen County.

TRENTON – Senator Bob Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic) and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) today applauded final legislative approval by the General Assembly of two bills they sponsored 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. Today’s action by the Assembly sends both bills to Governor Chris Christie’s desk. The bills were expected to be sent to the desk of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo upon passage in New Jersey. Since the Port Authority is a bi-state authority, identical legislation must be passed and signed in both states before it can take effect.

“The Port Authority is a multi-billion-dollar agency with a budget that is larger than many states. For far too long, it has operated with no accountability to the public, to commuters or to the Legislature in either state. This vote was a major step forward in the effort to fix an agency overcome with dysfunction. These reforms will bring the Port Authority out of the dark ages to provide greater accountability and transparency at all levels,” said Senator Gordon (D-Bergen and Passaic).

“This was an unprecedented effort undertaken by Republicans and Democrats in two states. The overwhelming support these reforms received demonstrate the will of legislators in New York and New Jersey to bring fundamental changes to the agency. It will now be up to Governors Christie and Cuomo to sign these much-needed reforms into law,” added Gordon.

“Long before ‘Bridge-gate’ was even a term, we have been pushing for reforms at the Port Authority to address the gross mismanagement and abuse of taxpayer funds that have been well-documented.  We finally have a chance now to put real reforms in place and we can’t squander this opportunity,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen).

“These bills will help create unprecedented transparency and accountability at this multi-billion dollar agency in order to help protect the commuters of this state who have been paying the price for years of lack of oversight.  I’m pleased my colleagues in the legislature have come together to support this overhaul and I hope the governor will join us in doing the same,” added Huttle.