Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Cuomo, Christie Push Sham Reform For Port Authority

As I wrote earlier, Christie and Cuomo are vetoing a Port Authority reform bill that passed both state legislatures 612-0 and would have enshrined a host of reforms into state law in both New York and New Jersey.

They are instead pushing their own sham reform:

Governor Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blocked the efforts of lawmakers in both states to reform the Port Authority and instead endorsed their own sweeping proposal on Saturday, nearly a year after the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal brought the agency under unprecedented scrutiny and criticism.

The governors agreed that they would no longer appoint the agency’s two top executives, that the agency should shed its real estate holdings, including the World Trade Center, and that money previously set aside for the governors’ pet projects should be shifted toward a new Manhattan bus terminal and other transportation initiatives that will benefit commuters moving between New Jersey and New York. They announced the changes in a joint statement that accompanied a 103-page report of reform recommendations.

The report, endorsed by a panel appointed by both governors, was released as the governors announced they would veto a widely-supported Port Authority reform bill unanimously passed by legislators in both states. The veto and simultaneous release of the report were seen by some as an attempt to head off legislative efforts to weaken the governors’ control over the multi-billion agency. It also comes as Christie is trying to put the lane closure scandal behind him as he mulls a run for president. A federal criminal investigation is ongoing.


State Sen. Bob Gordon of Fair Lawn, a sponsor of the reform bill sent to both governors, said before the governors released their report that any changes proposed by the Port Authority or the governors would not go far enough. 
“In all likelihood those changes will occur in the bylaws of the Port Authority, and the whole reason for going through this exercise we have since February, is to make these changes in statute so they have the force of law, because you get a majority of commissioners together and with the vote of a majority they can rescind the bylaws. And even if the current group decides to change their procedures in the interest of transparency and accountability, the next team in there may not, and all of this may be forgotten 20 years from now and we’ll go through the same thing again.”

Here's how you know Cuomo understands the press over this is going to be bad:

So he releases this jive:

Zach Fink points out:
Cuomo and Christie may "embrace the spirit and intent of the extensive reforms contained in the omnibus pending legislation," but they didn't want to sign them or enshrine them into law.

They took a historic moment when real reform for the Port Authority could have been written into law in two states and instead pushed their own sham version that will be eroded over time and ultimately be ineffective.

In a few weeks as Cuomo starts to talk about the need for wide scale "reform" of the New York public education system and touts his record as a "reformer," I will make sure that people remember the games he and his fellow in corruption, Chris Christie, played with Port Authority reform.

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