Christie Veto Pen Removed Port Authority Accountability from Previous Democratic Bill Passed by Legislature
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) on Tuesday announced she will reintroduce legislation vetoed by Gov. Christie last year that would have brought transparency and accountability to the troubled, multi-billion dollar Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ).
“I am certainly concerned by all of the allegations and testimony that have come to light over the last few weeks, but given the continued lack of oversight at this troubled agency, I’m certainly not surprised.
“Last year, I sponsored the Port Authority Transparency and Accountability Act, which was promptly vetoed by Gov. Christie. In fact, he specifically took the Port Authority out of the language. That is extremely concerning in light of these new revelations.
“While the investigation into the allegations about the lane closures continues, we must focus on the root of the problem – how the lack of transparency at the Port Authority is affecting commuters and residents from New Jersey and New York.
“Tolls just went up again at the beginning of this month, which not only affects commuters but everyone when higher truck tolls are passed onto the consumer.
“Last night commuters experienced five and six hour delays due to emergency repairs. Why wasn’t this addressed? Who is watching the store?
“The Port Authority consistently appears to be doing less with more, which begs the question: Where is the money going?
“Clearly, the agency needs accountability and transparency now more than ever. To that end, I intend to reintroduce the Transparency and Accountability Act when our new legislative session begins in January. Perhaps now the Governor and Port Authority will recognize how vital it is,” said Vainieri Huttle.
Vainieri Huttle’s bill (A-1011) was designed to enhance financial oversight and public transparency at the PANYNJ after a series of alarming news reports prompted sharp criticisms about how the multi-billion dollar agency conducts its business.
Concerns were raised over overtime costs in excess of $90 million; contradicting statements about where the majority of the money raised by the agency’s toll hikes was being spent; $4 million in Christie administration patronage hires; and outlandish perks for authority members and retirees.