New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Door Opens for DRPA Reform with Passage of PANYNJ Transparency Bill

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Senator: Missing Emails in Federal Probe Also Show Need for DRPA Reform

The New Jersey Senate today passed bipartisan legislation (S-2183) sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) to subject the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to the public records laws of both states.

During the PANYNJ transparency bill vote, Pennacchio renewed his calls for the passage of bi-state legislation (S-2013) to reform the similarly troubled Delaware River Port Authority.

“We’ve done a great public service today by coming together to pass bi-state, bipartisan legislation to make the troubled PANYNJ more transparent and accountable to the people, but it would be disingenuous to avoid reforming the DRPA, which has been maligned with rampant, widely reported waste and abuse that has increased tolls and fares,” said Assistant Republican Leader Pennacchio. “People know we cannot rely on the foxes to police these henhouses. We must protect all hard-working commuters across this the state and region by enacting both of these measures to ensure the appropriate delivery of services and the functionality of critical mass transit infrastructure.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Statement on Supreme Court Confirmation of Solomon and Chief Justice Rabner

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) released the following statement today regarding the Supreme Court confirmations of Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and Judge Lee Solomon.

Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) speaking in opposition to the reconfirmation of New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and the confirmation of Lee Solomon to become a justice of the court during a Senate session on June 19, 2014. (SenateNJ.com)

“For years some of us have challenged our Supreme Court for its over-reaching judicial activism. I take very serious our separate but equal creed. I take more serious our founding fathers’ principle that all of us were created equally.

“Historically, this court has legislated school funding beyond our constitutional and legislative intent. This has lead to 22% of our state’s children receiving 60% of our states education funds. Unfortunately, the remaining funds must be divided by 80% of our students. When it comes to school funding this court has determined that the most important variable in school funding is a child’s zip code.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Bi-State Reform Needed to Fund DRPA Toll Cut

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Assistant Senate Republican Leader and Transportation Committeeman Joe Pennacchio stated the following regarding Senate President Sweeney’s proposal for the Delaware River Port Authority to reduce toll fares from $5 to $4 for certain commuters.

“I agree with the Senate President that the DRPA charges commuters too much and ask him again to support my bi-state form legislation that would actually fund and maintain a toll cut,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris).

“We need this legislation (S-2013) to make certain the money commuters are paying is going to the right place. Commuters now are still on the hook for the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been wasted by the agency. It is unacceptable that 50 cents of every dollar paid to the DRPA funds debt service, thanks to political spending on economic development that doesn’t benefit commuters. Preventing waste and abuse on a permanent basis at the DRPA will make sure all hard working families get a fair shake.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Memorial Day Job Fair Holds Hope for Veterans

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris, Essex, Passaic) is encouraging honorably discharged veterans who are seeking employment to attend a job fair on May 28 at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

“In these difficult economic times, a ray of good news is being offered at the Port of New York and New Jersey. It is especially heartening to know that these are specific job opportunities for our heroes and heroines – our veterans,” said Senator Pennacchio.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Op-Ed: DRPA reform is a bipartisan effort

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The following op-ed by Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) on bipartisan supported, bi-state Delaware River Port Authority reform legislation was published by the Courier-Post on May 10, 2014 and the South Jersey Times on May 11, 2014. It reads:

I recently joined Pennsylvania legislators to introduce comprehensive reforms to ensure lasting accountability, transparency and adequate transit services at the troubled Delaware River Port Authority.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: DRPA Should Join Commuters in Supporting Bi-State Reform Bill

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) stated the following regarding Delaware River Port Authority CEO John Hanson’s indifference in two recent news reports about bipartisan supported reform legislation, which Assistant Leader Pennacchio sponsors with Pennsylvania Senator John Rafferty and Representative Mike Vereb:

“I appreciate that Mr. Hanson acknowledges the need for the DRPA to regain public trust that has been lost over the years due to hundreds of millions of dollars of waste and abuse of public dollars by the agency; toll and fare hikes; constant transit delays and handicap accessibility failures. But I urge him to rethink getting on board with our widespread reforms to bring real, lasting accountability and penalties for failure at the public agency.

“This legislation is needed to permanently address DRPA’s wasteful spending on economic development at the expense of hard-working families and commuters. It is unacceptable that 50 cents of every dollar paid to the DRPA funds debt service, thanks to political spending on economic development that doesn’t benefit commuters.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Bullying of Secretary Rice Embarrassing

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) issued the following statement regarding former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s decision to recuse herself as commencement speaker following continued protests at Rutgers:

“It’s an embarrassment to Rutgers and New Jersey that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was bullied out of speaking at the upcoming commencement by a group of self absorbed intellectual lightweights intent on circumventing the rights of the vast majority. Condoleezza Rice has an amazing story and it’s one our graduates would have benefited from hearing. Shame on the elitist faculty for leading this blatant partisan effort to silence the voice of such a highly qualified speaker.”

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Introduces Identical NJ Version of DRPA Reform Bill

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Assistant Senate Republican Leader and Transportation Committeeman Joe Pennacchio introduced today the New Jersey version of legislation to reform the long-troubled Delaware River Port Authority.

Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty and Representative Mike Vereb also introduced today identical legislation in that state’s legislature.

“This bi-state, bipartisan supported effort is the break that the hard working people of South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania have been longing for to prevent and penalize the waste and abuse of their money by this troubled public agency,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “This measure will ensure that the DRPA must always and forever use the people’s money to provide the best possible transportation via its regional railway and four bridges. Legislators in both states are unified, committed and will stop at nothing to pass this absolutely essential series of DRPA reforms.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

In the News: Reaction to Pennacchio’s DRPA Reform Legislation

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) held a press conference on Thursday with Pennsylvania legislators to unveil a bi-state effort to enact critical reforms to increase transparency and accountability at the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA).

NJTV – Politicians Introduce Legislation to Reform DRPA

Philadelphia Inquirer – Lawmakers push for permanent rule tightening at DRPA

In a rare bistate effort, Pennsylvania and New Jersey officials Thursday proposed an overhaul of the Delaware River Port Authority to ban economic-development spending and increase public accountability.

The authority has been under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia for the last year for hundreds of millions of dollars of politically connected economic-development spending.

“The DRPA will no longer be allowed to police itself,” Pennacchio said. “It will no longer be allowed to operate in the shadows and feed off more and more of your money.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Rafferty, Pennacchio, Vereb Announce Major DRPA Reform Legislation

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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.

New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio discusses bi-state DRPA reform legislation during a press conference in front of the Ben Franklin Bridge in Camden, NJ on April 24, 2014. Also pictured are Pennsylvania officials: Rep. Mike Vareb, Sen. John Rafferty, John Dougherty (DRPA board member) and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. (SenateNJ.com)

“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.”

Click here to view the New Jersey version of the DRPA reform legislation.

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