Christie, Cuomo urged to sign Port Authority reform bills
DECEMBER 9, 2014, 5:33 PM LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2014, 6:15 PM
BY JOHN SEASLY
STAFF WRITER |
Politicians and advocates from New York and New Jersey urged governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday to approve two bills reforming Port Authority procedures.
The two bills hold the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to higher standards of transparency and accountability. They were passed unanimously by both states’ legislative bodies. Cuomo and Christie must now decide the bills’ fates. The bills will be sent to Cuomo by mid-December. Christie has until Dec. 28 to act. Both governors must approve the bills for them to take effect.
“I’m confident he’s going to sign it,” New Jersey state Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle said of Christie, after remarking that she had recently raised the issue in person with the governor. Sen. Robert Gordon wasn’t as confident, but still hoped Christie would sign.
“Governor Christie said he was going to usher in a new era of transparency and accountability. Here’s a chance for him to do that,” Gordon said.
The bills enforce laws about open meetings, financial disclosure and public records. Currently, the Port Authority, as a bi-state agency, is exempt from public records laws. The bills also require the agency to submit detailed budgets, undergo annual independent audits and hold at least six public hearings before voting on proposed toll increases.
The debate over how to reform the Port Authority comes as a panel appointed by both governors is expected to propose its own reforms in the coming weeks. It’s unclear if those recommendations will affect the proposed bills before the governors, or if they will cover the same ground.