|Posted:||January 17, 2019 03:22 PM|
|From:||Representative Joe Emrick|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Compact|
|There is a genuine need for greater state oversight of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge commission. Historically, the Commission has been a bastion of political patronage, and many of its financial and management decisions have been questionable at best.
Oversight of the Commission has been a cumbersome issue because the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Compact, which governs the Commission, requires legal consistency between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Because the decision of the Commission affects a large number of citizens and businesses whom I represent, I will be re-introducing legislation designed to rectify inconsistencies between Pennsylvania and New Jersey law relating to the operation and oversight of the Commission.
My bill would amend PA law to grant the governor veto power over actions of the Commission members of PA. NJ already has enacted such a provision granting its Chief Executive veto power over actions of NJ commissioners. I believe the Governor of PA should also have the authority to review and veto actions of PA commissioners that do not serve the best interests of PA residents, such as the Toll Hike increase. It also sets the process by which the gubernatorial veto may be exercised. The Governor would have ten days to review the actions of PA commission members and either ratify, veto or allow the actions to stand (if he takes no action). The language in the bill mirrors NJ law.
Although there are provisions in the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge compact that call for member state auditing of the Commission, an inconsistency in the state law has resulted in a situation where neither PA Auditor General nor NJ Office of State Auditor has the authority to conduct an audit. The bill will amend PA law to provide that an annual financial management audit of the Commission be performed jointly by the Auditor General of PA and the State Auditor of NJ. Passage of this legislation will remove the current inconsistency between the two states' laws on auditing and allow the Commission to be appropriately audited after many years where no auditing has taken place.
This bill, the former House Bill 652 (2017-2018), was passed 184-0 in the House last session, but saw no further action after being referred to the Senate Transportation Committee last October.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.
Prior Co-sponsors: R. Brown, Freeman, Gillen, Irvin, Keefer, Lawrence, Mackenzie, Millard, B. Miller, Moul, Ryan and Davis
Introduced as HB351