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Govs. Cuomo, Christie back Port of New York and New Jersey reforms


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Dec. 27 they accepted the comprehensive changes at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) that were recommended by the Bi-State Special Panel.

The governors vetoed legislation aimed at overhauling the authority and instead backed the proposed reforms, which they believe will go farther in bringing accountability to PANYNJ. The reforms call for restructuring PANYNJ's operations, including a reorganization of Board of Commissioners leadership and executive management, the creation of a single chief executive officer and the modification of the chairman's role. The CEO would replace the executive director and deputy executive director. Either the chair and vice chair positions would be replaced with two co-chairs — one recommended by each governor — for election by the Board of Commissioners, or the chairmanship would be rotated between the two states on an annual basis, Cuomo and Christie said in a press release.

The reorganization will create clear lines of responsibility and accountability, and return the port authority to its original mission: developing and maintaining the world's largest transportation system and infrastructure, they said.

Other recommended reforms backed by the governors include divesting existing real estate holdings and restricting future real estate investments to those integral to the port authority's core transportation mission; pursuing the construction of a new bus terminal; modernizing port commerce facilities to increase their efficiency and maximize the potential of the ports as a premier cargo portal; and seeking an improved operating model for the PATH rail system.

In May, the governors ordered a broad review and evaluation of the port authority's structure, management, operations and governance.

"The recommendations put forward by the bi-state panel include important reforms to address the port's inefficient and outdated governing structure, and will help bring new transparency and effectiveness to the agency as it approaches its 10th decade of service," said Cuomo.

The reforms reflect the need for "a profound and necessary reimagining" of the authority, added Christie.

"Gov. Cuomo and I have remained advocates for reform at the port authority and are encouraged by these recommendations from the bi-state panel," he said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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