Last year was full of bad news for those advocating for reform at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. After months of broad discussion about how to best fix the myriad issues plaguing the bi-state agency, two bills advanced through both states’ legislatures. Unfortunately, the day after Christmas, both governors approved the bill to hold the Port Authority to open records laws in both states, but they vetoed the bill approved by 612 legislators in four chambers in two states to reform governance. Instead, they issued their own recommendations, which fall far short of instituting fundamental reforms necessary to make the Port Authority far more accountable and restore it to its original mission of transportation.
And this year has so far provided fewer reasons to be optimistic. The agency’s commissioners appear to be selectively adhering to the governors’ recommendations: while not a single commissioner has yet tendered a letter of resignation, they are preparing to begin the search for the agency’s first Chief Executive Officer. Meanwhile, legislators in New York and New Jersey are pressing forward to quickly pass new bills.
In light of the discouragingly slow progress being made, Saint Peter’s University is hosting an important panel this coming Monday, February 23, bringing together five panelists with “in-depth experience relevant to the transportation industry in the tri-state area” to discuss how to best reform the bi-state agency. The panelists include New York State Assemblyman James Brennan, New Jersey Assemblywoman Amy Handlin and New Jersey State Senator Bob Gordon, all three of whom played important roles in last year’s Port Authority reform efforts. Martin Robins, director emeritus of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, and Thomas D. Carver, former New Jersey commissioner of Labor Workforce and Development will also participate in the panel.
Philip Mark Plotch, Ph.D., director of the master’s program in public administration at Saint Peter’s University and Nicholas Chiaravalloti, J.D., executive director of the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership will moderate the event.
For more information or to register, please contact Dr. Plotch at firstname.lastname@example.org or (201) 761-7458.