Friday, March 30, 2012
Vainieri Huttle Welcomes Port Authority Changes While Underscoring Need to Make Accountability Permanent
(ENGLEWOOD) – Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) welcomed the news that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is instituting greater cost controls and transparency but said the move underscores the need to pass legislation that will make such measures a permanent requirement rather than a permissive move when the agency is under fire.
Vainieri Huttle is the lead Assembly sponsor of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Transparency and Accountability Act (A-1011), which would require more public transparency, regular audits, and greater financial accountability, measures the agency has been criticized for lacking in recent audits. The legislation recently passed the Senate and awaits final legislative action by the Assembly before being sent to the Governor’s desk. Similar legislation is also working its way through the New York Legislature right now, which is a requirement for any laws governing the bi-state agency.
“Absent our legislation, it’s great to see the Port Authority taking steps to control costs and make more records available to the public, but these moves can easily be undone when the heat is off the agency. One has to wonder if any of these steps would have been taken if reports of mismanagement and waste had not come to light.
“With the Port Authority in charge of a $7 billion budget that affects millions of commuters, increased accountability should not be left to the whims of those in charge, especially when the Vice-Commissioner has admitted that the changes will be ‘painful.’ If anyone understands painful it’s the commuters that have been dealing with the Port Authority’s exorbitant toll hikes since September.
“An independent audit has confirmed that the agency is in need of a top-to-bottom operational overhaul. This is something that needs to be codified by law and I look forward to sending our Transparency and Accountability Act to the Governor’s desk soon,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen)