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NJ & NY Legislators Push For Port Authority Reform Bills [AUDIO]

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

New Jersey and New York legislators are calling on Governors Christie and Cuomo to roll back recent toll hikes following an independent audit on the Port Authority characterizing the agency as “dysfunctional.”

“Given the deficiencies detailed in the audit, it calls into question the need for the exorbitant toll hikes heaped on commuters last fall. Toll payers shouldn’t be forced to suffer for the Port Authority’s lack of oversight, insufficient cost controls and poor capital planning. Our governors and the Port Authority leadership should revisit this issue at once to determine if these hikes are in fact necessary,” said Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle.

“The report on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is nothing short of an indictment of Port Authority operations,” said New York Senator Andrew Lanza. “Clearly the Port Authority management lacks the competency and moral authority to make these decisions which cost our residents. I think it is safe to say that the Port Authority Board made its decision to increase tolls based upon information from an unreliable source. The decision to raise tolls based upon the information provided by the Port Authority cannot be trusted and must not stand,” Lanza said.

The lawmakers are asking Governors Christie and Cuomo to reconvene the Port Authority’s board and recall the vote, which raised tolls and fares in September. They want to see tolls rolled back to prior levels until the board is presented with the proper information concerning the true financial situation of the Authority.

Huttle and Lanza are also asking the Governors to enact their “Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Transparency and Accountability Act”, which will completely restructure the way the Port Authority does business. The bill cleared a New Jersey Assembly committee last week and Lanza said the legislation is on track for passage in the New York Senate.

“We need a top to bottom overhaul of this agency and I think it should be done before we see any more waste and abuse” said Huttle.

Port Authority Chair David Samson said the agency has seen the report and is already looking at ways to improve capital planning for big projects.

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