ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York state lawmakers on Monday wanted answers from Gov. Andrew Cuomo about why he vetoed a bill designed to bring accountability to the Port Authority.
The measure rejected by Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Saturday would have imposed regular audits, created a new inspector general and made other changes to clean up the troubled agency.READ MORE: Bodycam Video Shows Moments Before NYPD Lieutenant Was Shot In Ankle Apprehending Suspect In The Bronx
The governors instead proposed alternate measures they said would go farther in bringing accountability to the agency. But they did not specify why they objected to the bill.
The measure had passed both states unanimously, and supporters said they want to know why the governors disagreed.
Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh/Mount Pleasant) said Monday that Cuomo and Christie owe a “public explanation.”
Assemblyman James Brennan (D-Brooklyn) said lawmakers concerned about a veto asked Cuomo’s office about concerns about the bill this fall but got no response.
As an alternative to the bill, Cuomo and Christie endorsed a reorganization recommended by the Bi-State Special Panel on the Future of the Port Authority. That legislation would create a single chief executive officer for the agency and modify the role of the chairperson.
Currently, the Port Authority is administered by an executive director and a deputy executive director. It is also governed by a chair and vice chair, which the governors advised replacing with two co-chairs – one recommended by each governor and elected by the Board of Commissioners.
Alternately, the governors advised rotating the chairmanship of the Port Authority between New York and New Jersey on an annual basis.READ MORE: Several People Shot Outside Queens Laundromat, Police Investigating
Cuomo and Christie have also asked each and every current commissioner to offer his or her resignation, among an assortment of other changes.
The agency’s most recent scandal involved the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge for alleged political payback.
The bill would have required approval in both states to take effect.
New Jersey Sen. Loretta Weinberg said the decision was a “cop-out,” and Assemblyman John Wisniewski said he’s disappointed the bill didn’t become law.
The Port Authority, which had a $2.9 billion operating budget in 2014, oversees airports, bridges and tunnels in New York and New Jersey, including John F. Kennedy International Airport, the George Washington Bridge and the Holland Tunnel.
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