TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) issued the following statement today on passage by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee of two bills she 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. Since the Port Authority is a bi-state authority, identical legislation must be passed and enacted in both states before it can take effect. Identical bills passed both houses of the New York Legislature unanimously in June. The New Jersey Senate has also approved both bills.
“The Port Authority has long operated as if it was exempt from basic government accountability standards, and the abuse of power and other troubling issues that have plagued the agency underscore the urgent need for reform. The commissioners have recently taken steps toward making operational changes, which was unheard of before the lane closures, but we know that oversight and reform cannot be left to the agency. It must be written in law and that requires identical legislation be passed and signed in both states.
“This vote brings us closer to implementing comprehensive accountability standards that both Democrats and Republicans recognize are critical for the effective operation of the agency. There will be a need for additional reforms, but that cannot be an excuse to not advance these bills. We’ve come a long way with these reforms, and I want to thank Senator Gordon and Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle for helping us get to this point. We are almost ready to put these bills on the desks of Governors Cuomo and Christie and complete the legislative process on these important reforms – which are a vital first step in making the port authority a more transparent and accountable agency.”