New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), the co-prime sponsor of two bills to reform the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, issued the following statement on the governors veto of the legislation.
The bills (S2181/A3417 and S2183/A3350) would have provided for a systemic overhaul of the agency by imposing comprehensive transparency and accountability standards, and represented the first major bi-state reform effort for the Port Authority since the George Washington Bridge lane closings a year ago. Identical bills passed both houses of the New York and New Jersey Legislatures. Since the Port Authority is a bi-state authority, identical legislation must be passed and signed in both states before it can take effect.
I am gravely disappointed that our governor passed up another opportunity to reform the Port Authority, and that Governor Cuomo did not see the value of enacting these very basic reforms.
These are changes we advocated long before the George Washington Bridge lane closures. Weve now seen a breakdown at the agency become a national scandal, top level staffers within state government and the Port Authority resign, and a federal investigation is under way. It is indisputable that the agency needs an overhaul, and comprehensive transparency and accountability standards enshrined in state law. These bills should have served as the foundation for our long-term reform effort.
The public and legislators in each state have demanded these changes. The New York and New Jersey Legislatures approved the bills unanimously. It is well past time to reform this agency. Delaying this effort any further means the Port Authority will remain vulnerable to the kind of dysfunction and abuse of power that shut down lanes on the worlds busiest bridge and endangered residents for four days last year. It also means the agency can continue to operate as if it is above the law. This inaction is disappointing. Frankly, it raises serious questions about the support for any meaningful and lasting changes at the bistate agency by those at the highest level of state government who are in the position to make it happen.