Pennsylvania Senator John Rafferty, New Jersey Senator Joe Pennacchio and Pennsylvania Representative Mike Vereb held a press conference on Thursday to announce bi-state legislation to significantly reform the Delaware River Port Authority.
“I am pleased to stand today with my friends and colleagues from both sides of the Delaware River and both sides of the political aisle to call for long overdue common-sense reforms,” said Rafferty (R-44), chairman of the P.A. Senate Transportation Committee. “DRPA spent nearly two decades and a half billion dollars carelessly wasting the resources of its users for purposes that in no way benefited DRPA’s bridges or the PATCO commuter system. This legislation will ensure that DRPA honors its core mission of providing safe and efficient travel as opposed to pet projects and perks.”
“People have long been at the breaking point with the DRPA and are demanding better transparency and accountability,” said Pennacchio (R-26), a N.J. Senate Transportation Committeeman. “The DRPA must use the people’s money to provide the best possible transportation via its regional railway and four bridges. They are not an ATM to be used for outside development. This legislation is a wake up call to the DRPA: Representatives in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania will not tolerate any more abuses.”
New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Essex, Morris & Passaic Counties) and Assemblyman Scott T. Rumana (R – Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic Counties) today reported having a productive meeting with the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor on March 4, 2014 regarding a delay in hiring needed positions at the port.
“The port of New Jersey is a vital part of our economic engine,” said Senator Pennacchio. “It is imperative that these high paying, quality jobs are filled as soon as possible.”
“It is equally important that the terminals have proper staffing so that they remain competitive and superior to the other regional and national shipping ports,” said Assemblyman Rumana.
Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Essex, Morris, Passaic) issued the following statement today on Rutgers faculty’s shameful attack on Condoleezza Rice:
“Rutgers University faculty recently voted to rescind an invitation to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Citing ‘her support’ of the Iraq War, the learned faculty decided that First Amendment rights applied only to themselves and like minded individuals. Others need not apply.
“Secretary Rice has a wonderful life story to tell. She is a dynamic and gifted speaker, a woman, an African American, who rose to the highest levels of our government. Why in the world would we not encourage her to share her story and inspire students on their graduation?
The Senate today again passed legislation sponsored by Senators Joe Pennacchio and Mike Doherty to create a Passenger Rail Study Commission to determine how to best utilize existing rail infrastructure.
“We owe it to passengers and taxpayers to explore every option of creating a more streamlined, efficient and cost effective mass transportation system,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris, Passaic, Essex). “This legislation seeks to begin the process of easing duplicative costs and providing better rail transportation throughout the state for decades to come.”
“The study commission will make sure we’re getting the most out of the rail infrastructure we already have and hopefully identify efficiencies that will help to ease the burden on commuters and taxpayers,” added Doherty (R-Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset). “Through consolidation, shared services or just better coordination on major projects, we can better avoid unnecessary costs being passed on to riders.”
New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Essex, Morris & Passaic) and Assemblyman Scott Rumana (R – Bergen, Essex, Morris & Passaic) today both questioned why the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, a bi-state agency, has delayed the port of New Jersey from filling approximately 600 vitally needed jobs.
The Waterfront Commission was created in the early 1950s to perform background checks and eliminate the presence of organized crime in the ports. It also has veto authority over the actual number of new hires.
“Even though management and labor have both agreed that additional staffing is needed, it still must go through a third party just to get approval for those numbers. What other business has to subordinate themselves to a third party when dealing with hiring practices?” questioned Senator Pennacchio.
Senators Joe Pennacchio and Kevin O’Toole released the following today after it was reported that the state Board of Public Utilities filed a brief recommending JCP&L should cut customer rates by more than $200 million because the utility had earned a profit above its approved amount. The Senators have urged the BPU to reject JCP&L’s application for a $31 million rate increase.
“I commend the BPU staff for heeding calls by Senator O’Toole and I to urge that thousands of people who already pay some of the highest utility rates in the country for unreliable service will not have to cough up even more of their hard-earned money,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris). “JCP&L failed its customers here time after time in past storms, yet now tried to grab more of their hard-earned cash to further line the pockets of its parent company. The attempted rate hike was flat wrong and I hope BPU commissioners will officially act on this recommendation and put money back in the hands of the customers too often left in the dark by JCP&L.”
Senators Urge Assembly Action
The Senate Transportation Committee on Monday advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Joe Pennacchio and Mike Doherty to create a Passenger Rail Study Commission to determine how to best utilize existing rail infrastructure. The Senators’ legislation, SJR-14, was passed unanimously by the Senate in each of the last two sessions but died by state Assembly inaction.
“A thorough examination of the many rail systems throughout New Jersey to create a more streamlined, efficient and cost effective mass transportation system is long overdue,” said Pennacchio. “This study has overwhelming, bipartisan support in the Senate and is rightly being fast-tracked for approval yet again. I urge my colleagues in the Assembly to get on board and give this legislation the attention it deserves in order to ease out-of-control expenses levied on the backs of taxpayers and commuters.”
“All opportunities to cut costs through consolidations or mergers should be explored to assure commuters are receiving the best service possible and that taxpayers are being protected from duplicative costs and infrastructure projects,” added Doherty (R-Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset). “Senate Republicans stand ready to work with the Senate President on our shared goal of achieving efficiencies through consolidation. However, to achieve true reform all cost-cutting solutions must be explored and the full legislature must come to the table.”
State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) released the following statement today following the Senate vote to form a special committee to investigate the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge:
“Although most New Jersey citizens would agree closing lanes on the GWB, causing traffic, inconvenience and potential safety and health issues is an important issue, an unlawful use of public power and should be investigated, many of us also see the hand of political partisanship at work.
Senators Joe Pennacchio and Kevin O’Toole today continued their call for JCP&L’s request to raise rates on its customers across the state to be denied and urged action on legislation to hold utility companies accountable for failed service. JCP&L, which has requested a $31 million annual rate increase, was scheduled to go before the state Board of Public Utilities today for an evidentiary hearing regarding costs occurred during past storms.
“It’s outrageous that during a time when energy costs are dropping JCP&L wants to raise rates on the very customers it has repeatedly failed,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris). “JCP&L needs to be held accountable for its failings, not rewarded on the backs of customers it too often left in the dark for days and weeks during Hurricane Irene, past snowstorms and Superstorm Sandy.”
Senators Joe Pennacchio and Anthony Bucco have introduced legislation to limit the sale of remaining state-owned portions of the Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital property and to require the land be maintained as open space, showing that there are creative ways to preserve land in New Jersey that don’t involve mass spending measures.
“We have already made great progress turning the Greystone property into open space for future and current generations to enjoy,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris). “This bill will assure that process continues and the remaining land is protected as well.”
The Senators’ bill provides that remaining Greystone property owned by the state and declared as surplus can only be sold to Morris County. Morris County is in turn limited to using the property for the purposes of recreation, conservation, historic preservation, farmland preservation and associated public services.