This afternoon, New York State Assemblymembers Jim Brennan and Amy Paulin along with New Jersey State Senator Robert Gordon and New Jersey State Assemblymember Valerie Vainieri Huttle will join fellow legislators and advocates to urge Governors Cuomo and Christie to sign two bi-state reform bills aiming to overhaul the Port Authority. According to spokesmen from both governors’ offices, the bills are currently “under review.”
Tri-State will be joining Citizens Union, AAA New York and Reinvent Albany at today’s event. You can read our testimony below:
Tri-State applauds the efforts of both the New York and New Jersey legislatures for working diligently, and together, to pass legislation that—if signed into law—will significantly improve transparency, public disclosure, and accountability of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The New Jersey and New York Sponsors of these two bills were able to garner unanimous support in their respective houses, solidifying the progress of these bills and highlighting their importance. However, Governor Cuomo and Governor Christie have yet to sign the legislation into law threatening to thwart much-needed reform. While more comprehensive broad reform pertaining to operations and the mission of the bi-state agency warrant further discussion and due diligence, these bills are a simple, basic, and crucial step for improving transparency and accountability.
The Port Authority owns and controls some of the most significant infrastructure assets in our region including bridges, bus facilities, tunnels, the PATH, ports, airports, and the World Trade Center site. The Port Authority impacts the daily commutes and pocketbooks of millions of New York and New Jersey residents and businesses. Billions of dollars at stake and the public deserves a more open and accountable entity.
With the New York legislative session coming to a close at the end of this month, the clock is ticking, and there is just one more bridge to cross: The Governors need to grab hold of this low-hanging fruit that the legislature and the public demand. Sign the bills and then use that victory to build toward broader reforms and transparency.