New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Demands DRPA Reform for South Jersey, PA Commuters

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Senator Joseph Pennacchio, (R-Morris, Passaic, Essex) a longtime advocate for reforming the Delaware River Port Authority, today renewed his call for the legislature to enact DRPA reform that will protect the thousands of commuters who utilize the DRPA every day.

Sen. Joseph Pennacchio said that South Jersey and Pennsylvania commuters shouldn’t have to wait any longer for DRPA reform (SenateNJ.com)

“It is completely unjust that 100 percent of Senate Democrats’ efforts to enact transparency reforms have been directed at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, while South Jersey commuters have been hung out to dry,” Senator Pennacchio said.

“Governor Cuomo has already signed bipartisan Port Authority reform legislation into law. Have we forgotten about the DRPA? The people of South Jersey who utilize the Delaware Memorial Bridge are no less deserving of comprehensive reforms than those who commute to New York City.”

“Recent glaring examples of ethical violations and abuses of power at the DRPA prove that the agency is completely incapable of policing itself,” Pennacchio added. “Clearly, we cannot wait a moment longer to enact these much-needed reforms. It’s time to shed an open and honest spotlight on the DRPA.”

The DRPA has been long fraught with cases of ethical misconduct and a lack of transparency. In September 2016, a federal judge chastised the DRPA for improperly rejecting a 17.9 million bid for a painting contract. In the ruling, the judge stated that the DRPA’s “deeply and dramatically flawed” process of awarding contracts proves that the agency is “in need of substantial reform.” Other examples of corruption at the DRPA include possible improper allocation of toll fares and questionable appointments to the DRPA board.

Senator Pennacchio sponsors bi-state legislation (S-120) to significantly reform the DRPA. Provisions of the bill include prohibiting the DRPA from using official resources for political activity; establishment of a PATCO commuter council; and a number of provisions to restrict DRPA board member, officer and employee perks or conflicts of interest.

“I applaud Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania legislature who have advanced reforms that are but a signature away from becoming law,” Senator Pennacchio added. “It’s about time that we pass DRPA reforms so South Jersey commuters are no longer treated like orphans.”

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