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Assemblyman Also Questions Need for Hefty Toll Increases after Port Authority About-Face on World Trade Center Site

Following up on his recent call for the Christie administration to investigate whether the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) misled the public in its justification for the recent toll hikes, Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer on Wednesday asked the Governor to institute greater financial controls at the embattled agency, much like he has at many of the state’s other independent authorities.

“I believe my constituents demand more be done to control the questionable financial practices at the agency. In the past, you have rightfully brought attention to the subject of fiscal mismanagement and abuse by independent authorities. It is my continued hope that you will show the same commitment to the Port Authority and bring resolution to these many areas of concern to my constituents,” wrote Schaer (D-Bergen/Essex/Passaic) in his letter.

Schaer, whose district encompasses many commuters to Manhattan, also questioned whether the hefty toll increases were entirely needed now that the Port Authority has reneged on its initial justification that a portion of the tolls would help pay for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site.

“The approved toll increases were portrayed to the public as a way of meeting the PANYNJ’s financial and infrastructure obligations to the economic future of our region. Since those increases were adopted, it has come to light that funds derived from the new tolls would not be used for the stated purposes of rebuilding the World Trade Center,” wrote Schaer.

With the Governor sending Attorney General Paula Dow to the Port Authority to help oversee operations, Schaer said he hopes the Governor will direct her to clean up many of the agency’s questionable financial practices and help institute greater transparency and public accountability.

A full copy of Schaer’s letter can be viewed here.