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Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, who has been pushing a series of reforms to institute greater transparency and accountability at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, today criticized the bi-state agency for awarding a lucrative severance package to a departing attorney while commuters are still trying to digest the recent toll hikes.

“Essentially a portion of the massive toll increases will now be paying for a golden parachute for a former Port Authority worker, rather than some much-needed infrastructure repairs. This is a waste of commuter funds and insulting to residents now paying over $12 a day to get to work.

First the agency mischaracterized how the toll hike revenue would be used and now we see yet another egregious misuse of funds. This is why we need real reforms at the Port Authority.

“If the Governor is so adamant against state employees collecting $7,500 in sick time when they retire, then he should be outraged that the Authority is paying $156,000 and six months worth of health benefits to one individual.

“By turning a blind eye to the situation, the Governor is only making the problems at the Port Authority worse, not better,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen).

Vainieri Huttle has been calling for reforms at the Port Authority for quite some time. Just this August, after a New York Comptroller audit revealed that the Port Authority had wasted nearly half of a billion dollars on overtime costs over the last five years, Vainieri Huttle called on Governor Christie to institute stricter financial controls at the authority.

In September she unveiled a comprehensive set of proposals, along with New York State Senator Andrew Lanza, that are designed to increase public access and participation in authority decisions, in light of the recent sizeable toll hikes, and ensure the proper functioning of the authority by requiring a series of new financial and management controls that will increase transparency.

For a detailed description of the reforms, click here.