Senate Leaders Call on GOP to Reaffirm Support for Strong Port Authority Reforms

Senate Leaders Vow to Advance Veto Override of S2181. The Senate is scheduled to hold an override vote on March 16th.

S2181 UPDATE:   Unfortunately, the March 16 override attempt was unsuccessful.  The vote was 25-14 in favor, 2 votes shy of the 27 needed for passage. article “See which N.J. Republicans changed Port Authority legislation votes after Christie veto” lists the 12 Republican lawmakers who voted yes for the bill in September 2014, but who either voted no or refused to vote on the override on March 16, 2015.  Also listed are 2 Republican senators who were absent from the September vote but voted no on the March override.

Senate President Sweeney, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senator Bob Gordon on March 5th announced they will move forward with a planned vote to override the governor’s veto of Port Authority reforms that unanimously passed the Legislatures in New York and New Jersey last year. The Senate Democratic leaders rejected a watered-down port authority bill proposed by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr. and called on the GOP members to reaffirm their support for the Port Authority reforms they voted to make law this past fall.

“The Port Authority needs real, systemic reforms that will end the problems of the past,” said Senator Sweeney.

“We have already seen the damage that can come from a lack of transparency and accountability at the authority,” said Senator Weinberg. “It’s well past time that we made these reforms law. Our colleagues must decide whether to stand with the two governors or the millions of residents who depend on the Port Authority facilities and its transportation network each year.”

“Our reform bill was supported by every member of the Legislature in two states. We will not compromise our reform effort,” said Senator Gordon, the prime sponsor of the legislation. “The bill put forward by the Republican leader is a watered-down, substantively weaker bill that attempts to derail the very real, very meaningful reforms my colleagues and I have worked on bringing to the Port Authority. Creating accountability and transparency at an agency that has long operated with no regard for basic government standards should be an easy vote. If our colleagues are serious about reforming this agency, they will vote the same way they did last fall on the same bill.”

Sponsored by Senators Gordon and Weinberg, S2181/A3417 will provide for a systemic overhaul of the agency by imposing comprehensive transparency and accountability standards. The bill represents the first major bi-state reform effort for the Port Authority since the George Washington Bridge lane closings more than a year ago. Since the Port Authority is a bi-state authority, identical legislation must be passed and signed in both states before it can take effect. Identical versions of the reform bill passed both houses of the New York and New Jersey Legislatures. Governor Christie and Cuomo vetoed the legislation on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014. The Senate is scheduled to hold an override vote on March 16th.

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