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Under pressure, DRPA eyes reforms

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Complaints about high salaries and abuse of E-Z Pass privileges have put pressure on the Delaware River Port Authority, which manages the Ben Franklin and Walt Whitman bridges among others. The authority’s chairman, John Estey, plans to announce a set of reforms this week.

We scrutinize how tax dollars are spent, but bridge tolls are somehow easier to forget. Over the years, the four bridges and PATCO lines that the DPRA runs have put hundreds of millions in the hands of a politically-appointed board. They’ve spent big sums on pet development projects, and on high salaries and perks for top staff.

New Jersey Governor Christie and others are complaining, so John Estey says you can soon expect and end to car allowances and free EZ Pass for managers. And he says there will be changes to the way the board operates.

“There have been questions about the caucuses and things being done in manners that are not as transparent as they might be,” Estey says. “And I think we’re going to take a look at that and make some recommendations for the board to consider.”

A likely change will be the end of private caucuses for New Jersey and Pennsylvania members, which are closed to the media and the public.

One Comment

  • DRPA should create a Citizens Advisory Committee. Given the recent problems in PATCO service reliability, and the desicion process associated with the Gloucester County passenger rail expansion, the creation of a Citizens Advisory Committee seems more appropriate now than at any time in the past.

    PATCO is the only Northeastern U.S. rail transit operator that does not have such a committee. The DRPA has never acknowledged requests for the creation of a PATCO Citizens Advisory Committee. This demonstrates yet another area in which DRPA seeks to limit greater public accountability. The creation of a PATCO Citizens Advisory Committee would be in the best interest of PATCO passengers.

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