A Bistate, Nominally Bipartisan Call for DRPA Reform

But you’ll never guess what it takes to change the agency’s charter.

After a nearly two-decade-long “economic development” spending spree fueled by almost $500 million in borrowed funds — you’ve seen the logo plastered all over the Kimmel, right? — the Delaware River Port Authority is facing a permanently chastened future:

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.

Republican legislators from both states, accompanied by Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, a Democrat who sits on the DRPA board, and Philadelphia union leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, gathered on the Camden riverfront to outline their efforts to amend the federal charter that governs the agency.

“There have already been some changes made by the DRPA . . . but we want to make sure there’s no going back to the old ways,” said Pennsylvania State Sen. John Rafferty (R., Montgomery).

In addition to ending development spending, the soon-to-be-introduced legislation would require biennial audits, curtail executive salaries, and require disclosure of vendor political contributions. But the reform effort faces a number of hurdles, including New Jersey State Senate president Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat, and a byzantine procedure requiring “approval from both houses of both state legislatures, signatures from both governors, approval by Congress, and a signature from the president” to change the agency’s charter.

Somewhere, upon rising every morning, a lawyer still chuckles that he got away with that. (Inquirer)

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