Senators say hearings on NJ Transit by joint Senate/Assembly committee and by Senate Transportation panel show need for independent audit
TRENTON – Senators Bob Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic), Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) today praised Governor Murphy for signing an executive order requiring a comprehensive independent audit of NJ Transit, the nation’s largest state transit agency.
“Requiring regular audits of NJ Transit is a core component of comprehensive NJ Transit reform legislation we are developing that will also strengthen the Board, set strict requirements for public hearings on fare increases or schedule changes, and establish needed whistle blower protections,” Senator Gordon, the new Senate Transportation Committee chairman, said after his first hearing. “The Governor’s Executive Order gives us a jump-start on that process.”
“We need to make sure that the audit focuses in detail on NJ Transit’s Human Resources Department, and particularly on the more than $10 million that was paid out in settlements of sexual harassment cases and racial discrimination claims,” said Senate Majority Leader Weinberg, who attended the signing ceremony with Governor Murphy at the Summit Train Station. “What we saw was a pattern of neglect that repeatedly punished the victims and allowed hostile work environments to continue.”
“Today’s Senate Transportation Committee hearing demonstrated the dysfunction in our transportation programs that affects commuters every day,” said Senator Gopal, the new vice-chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. “We heard today how the number of pedestrians and bicyclists killed on New Jersey roads hit a 25-year high last year, yet the state is in danger of losing $90 million in federal funds meant to avert road fatalities because it failed to get the needed programs underway. We need to take a close look at all of our transportation programs, including mass transit. The governor’s executive order today is an important step in that process.”