TRENTON – New Jersey Senator Bob Gordon, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle on Monday issued the following statement on Governor Christie’s conditional veto of reform legislation they sponsored aiming to overhaul the beleaguered Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.
The legislation, S-708/A-2184, known as the “Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Transparency and Accountability Act,” would guarantee legislative oversight of the agency as it undertakes a number of high profile construction projects critical to the region’s future.
“The governor’s rejection of legislation that would finally begin the process of cleaning up this beleaguered agency is deeply disappointing,” said Senator Gordon (D-Bergen). “We need real reform, not a halfhearted effort. The Port Authority is going to be responsible for building a new Port Authority Bus Terminal and taking the lead role in coordinating the construction of the new Gateway Rail Tunnel. It is crucial that we have the ability to monitor the cost and progress of these and other projects on an ongoing basis in the years ahead, and our bill would have provided that. The governor’s veto is wrong.”
“We only get one opportunity for reform, and it has to be done right. Our bill would have ensured that checks and balances were in place to not only assure appropriate use of commuter funds but to provide confidence in the port authority’s ability to oversee major infrastructure projects it will undertake in the coming years,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “Without legislative oversight, the Port Authority will continue to operate in secrecy and without the scrutiny that a multibillion-dollar public agency deserves. The governor should have signed this legislation and ended his opposition to ‘too much’ reform.”
“The Governor’s repeated actions to block real reform at the Port Authority speak volumes. We worked exhaustingly to make sure that this latest bill transforms the culture that has allowed dysfunction, waste and abuse to exist for too long while ensuring that the Port Authority is refocused on critical transportation infrastructure needs, proper oversights are in place and each state has an equal seat at the table. Our New Jersey constituents deserved no less,” said Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen).