Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean called for Senate Democrats to immediately advance Port Authority reforms to ensure transparency and accountability at the bi-state agency.
Kean reiterated his call for action following statements made by Port Authority Inspector General Mike Nestor that New Jersey’s failure to advance reforms identical to those signed into law in New York prevents the inspector’s office from fully investigating certain allegations of fraud, corruption and waste at the agency.
“The Inspector General’s concerns are proof positive that if we do not enact reforms, the cycle of waste and abuse at the Port Authority will only continue to grow,” Senator Kean said. “The reforms I sponsor would uphold transparency and accountability at the agency, and ensure the inspector’s office has the tools they need to fully investigate allegations of misconduct. We cannot continue to tie the hands of those who are working to protect the millions of commuters who rely on the services provided by the Port Authority.”
Kean is the sponsor of S-355 which provides governance, transparency, and accountability reforms to the Port Authority.
Despite the Inspector General’s concerns, a democratic senator indicated to The Record that eliminating a rule that would allow the inspector’s office to fully investigate allegations of misconduct is but a “footnote” in the effort to reform the agency. In the same published report, Senator Sweeney admitted that he is intentionally holding up Port Authority reform legislation.
“Senator Sweeney’s admission that he is intentionally holding off on posting this legislation for a vote is extremely disconcerting,” Senator Kean said. “I was also disturbed by reports that Senate Democrats do not recognize the need for some of the essential accountability reforms outlined in my bill and signed into law in New York. Residents of both states have waited long enough. I urge Senate Democrats to act in the best interest of the people we serve and advance these critically-needed reforms now.”
Governor Christie conditionally vetoed Port Authority reform legislation (S-708) sponsored by Democratic legislators to change the language of their bill to match that of S-355 and identical legislation already approved by the New York Legislature and signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Reform legislation identical to Kean’s has already been signed into law in New York, but has failed to be advanced by the Democrat-controlled New Jersey Legislature. The reforms have to be approved by both states to be codified.