- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 6, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo added their voices Tuesday to those seeking to reform the beleaguered Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, telling the bistate agency that they are forming a panel to take a hard look at its mission, structure, operations and governance.

The two governors sent a letter notifying the Port Authority that the panel will be composed of two sitting or nominated Port Authority commissioners from each state, plus one representative from each governor’s office.

New Jersey’s representatives will be John Degnan, recently nominated by Christie to be Port Authority chairman; current commissioner Richard Bagger and Christopher Porrino, the governor’s counsel.

Representing New York will be current Port Authority vice chairman Scott Rechler; Cuomo counsel Mylan Denerstein and a Port Authority commissioner to be named.

The Port Authority has been buffeted recently over the lane-closing scandal at the George Washington Bridge, allegations of conflicts of interest and the resignations of several top officials. It also has come under criticism for considering plans to commit more than $1 billion as a loan guarantee to back developer Larry Silverstein’s plan to rebuild 3 World Trade Center.

The trade center issue has revealed a split between Port Authority board members over whether the agency’s mission should include real estate development, in addition to its core mission of operating the New York area’s major transportation facilities.

Christie and Cuomo said in the letter that the panel would meet “as soon as reasonably possible” and would submit a report with recommendations within two months.

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