- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The New Jersey Senate has passed legislation to overhaul the bistate agency that controls the New York City region’s airports, bridges and tunnels, though the measure differs from reforms passed in New York.

The Democrat-led Senate approved the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey bill on Thursday.

New York and New Jersey must enact identical legislation for the changes to take effect. These include whistleblower protections and the establishment of a rotating chairmanship.

The states have failed to iron out differences since New York lawmakers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Chris Christie backed legislation in June.

The biggest difference is a provision in the New Jersey bill that calls for legislative oversight of the agency, which has an $8 billion budget and was at the center of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal that resulted in indictments of former agency officials.

New Jersey’s Democratic lawmakers say the scandal demonstrates why stricter oversight is needed. But Republicans have pointed out legislators already have the authority to call for subpoenas if they want.

Efforts to reform the agency stretch back at least four years, lawmakers say. The legislation took a leap forward in 2014 when both state legislatures unanimously passed overhaul measures.

But Cuomo and Christie vetoed those bills and instead recommended changes including the creation of a single chief executive.



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