N.J. bill aims to increase transparency over Port Authority operations

The transportation committee in the New Jersey Senate has advanced legislation that would increase transparency over the operations of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The bill requires independent auditing of the Port Authority, financial disclosure for commissioners, and sets the number of public hearings for any proposed toll and fare increases.

Bill Baroni, deputy executive director of the Port Authority, said it already does many of those things and is making more reforms.

“This bill is redundant, this bill is political, and this bill is dangerous,” he said Monday.

Baroni said requiring the Port Authority’s agenda to be set well in advance of its meetings would jeopardize last-minute negotiations on projects that create jobs.

“When we have the ability to bring billions of dollars back to New Jersey and thousands of jobs back to New Jersey we should take it,” Baroni said. “This bill would require the Port Authority to put some of those very arrangements, public arrangements presented to the public people know about them, put them at risk.”

The primary sponsor of the legislation, Sen. Bob Gordon, D-Bergen, said it keeps up the pressure for reform.

“I think it’s institutionalizing a process and making very clear what the goal of this Legislature is,” he said.

Gordon says he’ll work with the Port Authority to make any necessary modifications to the bill.

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