NJ Lawmakers Call for More Transparency Among Transportation Authorities
They're funded through tax dollars and tolls. Yet, a March report on the Delaware River Port Authority found millions of dollars in toll money misspent and misused over the last decade.
A three-bill package looks to curtail excessive perks and compensation at New Jersey's three southern bi-state transportation agencies; the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) and the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC). The measure was released from the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authoirities Committee today.
"These are common sense reforms, some of which are already being put into place by the agencies," said Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, co-sponsor of the bill. "Codifying the changes in law will give commuters piece of mind and make it that much harder for unscrupulous individuals to undo the reforms in the future."
"It's difficult to believe these agencies claims of poverty when they are doling out free EZ-Passes and other perks to employees and officers," said bill co-sponsor Assemblyman Matthew Milam. "Implementing these reforms will give motorists some confidence that their toll dollars are actually going to fund roadway improvements."
The three-bill package would impose a number of restrictions on the bi-state agencies, their subsidiary corporations, commissioners, officers and employees. Under the measure, agencies wouldn't be allowed to compensate anyone for expenses related to commuting or to their personal vehicle, exempt anyone from paying tolls or reimburse them for using tolls or extend any officer a personal line of credit, to name a few.
"These reforms will serve as a reality check to the members of these agencies, should they once again begin contemplating lavish entitlements," said Milam.
Anyone who violates the provisions of these bills would be subject to removal from office or employment and face fines of up to $10,000.