Senator: Missing Emails in Federal Probe Also Show Need for DRPA Reform
The New Jersey Senate today passed bipartisan legislation (S-2183) sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) to subject the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to the public records laws of both states.
During the PANYNJ transparency bill vote, Pennacchio renewed his calls for the passage of bi-state legislation (S-2013) to reform the similarly troubled Delaware River Port Authority.
“We’ve done a great public service today by coming together to pass bi-state, bipartisan legislation to make the troubled PANYNJ more transparent and accountable to the people, but it would be disingenuous to avoid reforming the DRPA, which has been maligned with rampant, widely reported waste and abuse that has increased tolls and fares,” said Assistant Republican Leader Pennacchio. “People know we cannot rely on the foxes to police these henhouses. We must protect all hard-working commuters across this the state and region by enacting both of these measures to ensure the appropriate delivery of services and the functionality of critical mass transit infrastructure.”
Senator Pennacchio’s comprehensive bi-state DRPA reform bill includes a similar transparency component as S-2183. Senate bill 2013, introduced in April, allows requestors to obtain public records under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act, Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law, or both.
“For years, Democrat Leader Weinberg and I have championed government transparency to address many issues, and there’s no reason why we can’t accomplish these parallel measures to make some of the worst performing public agencies accountable to the public,” Pennacchio said. “I look forward to working with her and all of our colleagues to prevent and penalize the waste and abuse of public money by these agencies and ensure that the PANYNJ and DRPA must use the people’s money to do nothing but provide the best transportation no matter who is governor or who is in charge of the authorities.”
Also today, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that DRPA officials allege emails sought in a federal investigation of the agency have vanished.
“This shows the obvious need for reform, better accountability and transparency. For the CEO to suggest that S-2013 is not “transformative” is doing a disservice to the taxpayers and commuters. Pennacchio questioned: “What does that mean, ‘transformative’? How can any official say there’s no need to reform the DRPA?”