|Posted:||March 21, 2014 11:34 AM|
|From:||Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr.|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA ) Reforms|
|As you may know, the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of four bridges crossing the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New Jersey and the PATCO commuter rail line between South Jersey and Philadelphia. This $325-million-a year bi-state agency is funded by the tolls that commuters pay to cross the bridges. The DRPA has come under increasing scrutiny over recent years for its unacceptable practices, including its patronage hiring, lack of transparency, lavish perks, excessive spending and debt, and burdensome toll increases.
It is imperative to enact comprehensive reforms at DRPA, and for the last few sessions I have introduced legislation to accomplish this. In 2010, SB 1490 was passed with overwhelming support by the Senate, and the legislation that I intend to introduce is an updated version of that language. I have been working with representatives and staff from the New Jersey legislature, Representative Vereb’s office, and Senate staff to develop legislation that will amend the interstate compact between Pennsylvania and New Jersey which governs the agency. To amend this compact, both states must adopt the same reforms, and the compact must then be approved by Congress.
I am currently preparing to introduce this legislation, which will make the agency more transparent and open to the public by:
My bill will also limit DRPA board member, officer and employee “perks” by:
In addition, my legislation will require Senate confirmation of each of the Governor’s six appointees to the DRPA board, providing for legislative involvement in the appointment process.
Finally, a Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) Commuter Council will be created to study, investigate, monitor and make recommendations pertaining to the maintenance and operation of PATCO’s facilities for the transportation of passengers.
Introduced as SB1358