- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New efforts to overhaul the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey appear to have stalled.

Compromise legislation aimed at winning support from both legislatures and Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie from a key New Jersey Republican Jr. is getting a cool reception from a chief sponsor of reform efforts in New York.

New Jersey Senate Republican leader Tom Kean Jr. said he “fine-tuned” a bill he plans to introduce on Thursday after New York Assemblyman James Brennan raised questions about it.

But Brennan, a Democrat, said he is not in talks with Kean and is waiting for a proposal from Cuomo or Christie. He declined to discuss the specifics of Kean’s bill.

Kean introduced his bill last week and said it includes portions of a sweeping overhaul both Legislatures passed unanimously last year. The proposal also includes aspects suggested by Cuomo and Christie, including the establishment of a chief executive officer and the exclusion of regional development funds in the agency’s capital plan.

The bill also includes provisions calling for six public hearings before any toll hikes, the establishment of a “chief ethics officer” and an inspector general as well as board audits.

A spokesman for Christie declined to comment. Cuomo spokeswoman Beth DeFalco said Cuomo will review the proposal and work with stakeholders on reforms.

Cuomo and Christie vetoed a sweeping measure in December frustrating lawmakers in both states. They instead proposed their own recommendations, which lawmakers have not advanced.

In reaction, New Jersey Democrats who control the Legislature vowed to launch a veto override effort. Republicans have never voted with them to override Christie and have signaled they would not in this case, either.

That’s where Kean’s legislation comes in. Kean says his bill could gain enough support to become law.

“My common-ground legislation, which includes the workable and helpful provisions and ideas from Assemblyman Brennan and the New Jersey sponsors, is in the hands of the sponsors and governors in both states and is the Port Authority reform bill that has the chance to be passed into law,” he said in a statement.

Brennan expects lawmakers in New Jersey to try to override vetoes of the bill that lawmakers in both states unanimously passed. The Democrat-controlled New Jersey Senate is planning an override vote later this month.


Klepper contributed from Albany, New York.

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