Senate Transportation Committeeman Joe Pennacchio issued the following statement in agreement with Senate Democrat Leader Loretta Weinberg on the need to pass Port Authority reform legislation to protect all New Jerseyans.
Sen. Joe Pennacchio said that reforms to both the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Delaware River Port Authority are necessary to protect all New Jereseyans. (Wikimedia)
Senator Weinberg said the following in a press release yesterday: “Any bill we pass has to protect the regional interests of the New Jersey residents that Governor Christie, Senate President Sweeney, Senate Minority Leader Kean and I represent.”
Senator Pennacchio and dozens of bipartisan legislators in New Jersey and Pennsylvania sponsor legislation to reform the Delaware River Port Authority, which is under federal investigation and is marred with a history of waste, fraud, abuse and corruption.
With its four toll bridges and regional rail line, the DRPA serves approximately 300,000 commuters each day, predominantly people from Mercer to Atlantic counties, including those from the third legislative district represented by Senate President Stephen Sweeney.
“Senator Weinberg’s comments reiterate that we are a legislature and a Transportation Committee that must represent all New Jerseyans,” said Assistant Republican Leader Pennacchio. “We are justly working hard for North Jersey commuters and taxpayers to enact legislation to reform the much maligned Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and I agree with the Majority Leader that it’s beyond time we do the same for people in South Jersey.”
In April 2014, Senator Pennacchio joined legislative leaders from Pennsylvania to introduce bipartisan crafted and supported legislation to reform the DRPA. For the second consecutive legislative session, the bill, S-2013, has been unanimously passed by Pennsylvania’s Senate. With upcoming action by the House, it is poised to be enacted in that state.
“Now is the perfect time for New Jersey to finally pass this bill,” Pennacchio said. “Pennsylvania is doing its part and its Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf helped appoint the DRPA’s brand new board chairman, Eugene DePasquale, who has been behind this reform legislation from day one.”
In order for reform to take place, this identical legislation must be enacted in both states.
“We have 15 bipartisan New Jersey Senate sponsors. The Assembly Speaker publicly stated his confidence for passing this bill, which his fellow Assembly Democrat publicly vowed to introduce,” Pennacchio said. “We would have even more Senate sponsors, who would be consistent with their votes to reform the northern Port Authority, and this bill would have been already introduced and posted in the Assembly, if not for the political pressure applied by one elected official.
“This bill will easily pass both chambers in New Jersey, if the one elected official who is blocking it puts the people first and allows a vote. The public and media should join me and Senator Weinberg in demanding no less.”