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Assembly renews charge to investigate Port Authority finances

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A state Assembly committee voted today to continue its effort to investigate the finances of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

Committee chair John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) issued the resolution stating the committee would continue to probe the authority’s spending, capital plan and revenue from toll increases. A bill adopted in March 2012, which would have expired after one year, gave the committee the power to subpoena and compel testimony.

The resolution extends the investigative powers until the end of the legislative term, in January 2014.

During discussion, Wisnewski said the fruits of the previous bill resulted in 56,000 pages of documents, and “50,000 pages of that was flotsam and jetsam” that did not answer the committee’s questions.

“Unfortunately, as we sit here in February, we still don’t have answers,” Wisnewski said, adding that the agency’s counsel just recently communicated with the committee for the first time, claiming privilege on some responsive documents.

Linda Stender (D-Scotch Plains), vice chair of the committee on transportation, public works and independent authorities, added that the Port Authority had made an “effort to run out the clock” on the committee’s investigative powers.

“The public is rightfully concerned about the increase in tolls, how the money is spent,” Stender said.

Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman declined to comment on the resolution.

 

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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