Today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued a scathing rebuke of actions taken by the Delaware River Port Authority Board of Commissioners to “reinstate” E-Z Pass perks for Commissioners, Officers, employees and retirees of the DRPA and PATCO at its September 15 meeting. In vetoing the three resolutions, Governor Christie underscored the need for more, not less, reform at the DRPA and the fact that the resolutions reinstating these perks run directly contrary to Governor Christie’s recent directives for additional reform at the Authority.
“Authority employees, Commissioners, Officers and retirees should not receive free bridge passage or PATCO rides simply by virtue of their employment at the Authority, when these perks are not available to the toll-paying public,” wrote Governor Christie. “All Commissioners, Officers, employees and retirees should pay for their personal, non-business use of DRPA/PATCO facilities, just as the Authority requires of its customers.”
At the meeting, the DRPA passed three resolutions to amend DRPA Resolution 10-57, previously adopted on August 18, that “eliminate[d] all programs allowing all present and future Commissioners, Officers, employees and retirees of the Authority to receive free bridge passage and free PATCO rides effective immediately.” The three resolutions vetoed by the Governor are as follows:
· The Resolution "reinstating the right of DRPA and PATCO employees to commute to and from work without paying tolls or fares on DRPA or PATCO facilities."
· The Resolution "to reinstate the 100 free E-Z pass trips on DRPA facilities to the extent that this benefit appears in union contracts."
· The Resolution "reinstating the right of DRPA and PATCO employees to commute to and from work without paying tolls or fares on DRPA or PATCO facilities and to permit DRPA and PATCO employees to make multiple free trips on DRPA or PATCO facilities in one day if in the course of their work."
Governor Christie went further today to eliminate the use of E-Z Pass perks at tollpayer expense by directing other authorities to abolish the practice of providing free E-Z Pass trips and other forms of free passage that are not available to the general public. These directives were sent in letters, available as attachments to this release, to the following entities:
· Delaware River Bay Authority;
· Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission;
· Port Authority of New York and New Jersey;
· New Jersey Turnpike Authority; and,
· South Jersey Transportation Authority.
Governor Christie's veto of the September 15 DRPA Board of Commissioners meeting minutes is the fourteenth such action taken against the activity of various state authorities and commissions since taking office. Meeting minutes are scrutinized by the Governor's Office Authorities Unit, headed by Director Deborah Gramiccioni, to flag potentially troublesome issues.