Reform legislation for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and priorities for its 10-year capital plan will be examined during hearings scheduled for Sept. 10 before the New Jersey Senate Legislative Oversight Committee.
New Jersey State Sen. Bon Gordon, D-Fair Lawn, said the hearings will allow transportation experts as well as current and former Port Authority officials the chance to weigh in on the agency's proposed reform legislation that was adopted by New York lawmakers in June. The reforms, which still need to be approved by the New Jersey legislature, would establish a new management structure that includes a new chief executive officer to replace the executive director and deputy executive director positions.
"The Port Authority reform legislation adopted by New York was approved hurriedly without public hearings after a week of back-room negotiations," said Gordon in a statement announcing the new hearings.
Gordon and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-,Teaneck, have introduced legislation that incorporates the ethics and transparency reforms contained in the New York bill while also adding other provisions that would give New Jersey more input in capital projects. Gordon said he wants priorities in the Port Authority's 10-year capital plan revised to include more New Jersey priorities such as a new trans-Hudson rail tunnel.
"We need to get both the capital plan and the legislation right," said Gordon, who chairs the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee. "We are going to hold a full slate of hearings and then negotiate with the governors and legislative leaders from both states to achieve the best possible legislation."
The Port Authority press office declined to comment. The agency is rated Aa3 with a stable outlook by Moody's Investors Service.