Senator Bob Gordon (D-Bergen, Passaic) and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) issued the following joint statement in response to the announcement that Gov. Chris Christie has formed a commission to offer ways to reform the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
"The governor is very late to the party," the lawmakers said. "We introduced a comprehensive bill to bring transparency and accountability to the Port Authority in 2012, but the Governor inexplicably vetoed the bill. It's a shame that it took the controversial closings of the George Washington Bridge to open his eyes about the need for reform that were so obvious to everyone else."
In the wake of the controversial Port Authority toll hikes that were enacted in 2011 with little public input, Gordon and Huttle pushed for a package of reforms at the Port Authority that included requiring public input before any future tool hikes and greater transparency of agency finances.
Since then, there have been reports from the federal Government Accountability Office and an Authority consultant that both called for dramatic changes at the agency. Gov. Christie ignored those calls as well.
"We don't need another study. We've seen what happens when this administration investigates itself," the lawmakers said. "We don't need another taxpayer or commuter funded dog and pony show."
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen) released the following statement on Wednesday:
"I'm very disturbed by today's vote by the Civil Service Commission.
"The Legislature last session moved to invalidate this effort and made it clear that these changes were not aligned with legislative intent.
"The Legislature's position on this must be respected, and the Assembly will be looking into this further and weighing its options on how to respond."