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Transportation Experts Urge Bistate Blue-Ribbon Panel to Fix Port Authority

The GOP group also called for regular ethics training and strengthening the whistleblower law to encourage the reporting of transgressions.

Assembly Democratic spokesman Tom Hester was dismissive of the motives of the Assembly Republican foursome in issuing a detailed reform proposal so early in the Joint Select Committee on Investigation’s probe into the causes of the Bridgegate scandal and other allegations of abuses of power and conflicts of interest at the Port Authority.

“It’s nice to see the Republicans -- who were less than supportive of Port Authority reform last session -- have finally seen the light," he said. As always, all ideas will be reviewed, but the investigation into this threat to public safety and abuse of government power will also continue.”

Hester noted that the Democratic-controlled Legislature passed a Port Authority reform bill that would have accomplished many of the goals of the Republican plan, including the publication of detailed financial data on agency contracts, financial disclosure statements for officials, and the requirement that Port Authority officials sign an oath requiring them to fulfill the mission of the bistate agency. The Democratic bill also would have required an extensive schedule of public hearings before the imposition of toll hikes.

Christie, however, conditionally vetoed the bill, and Senate Republicans refused to supply any votes to override his veto, even though six Republican senators had voted for the measure when it first passed – which would have been enough to enact the bill over Christie’s objection.

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