The Port Authority will soon have new leadership. Gov. Chris Christie has nominated John Degnan to replace David Samson. Former Deputy Executive Director of NJ Transit and Founding Director of the Alan Voorhees Transportation Center Martin Robins told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that Degnan’s nomination will strengthen reform in the Port Authority.
“I think it will strengthen it and accelerate it,” said Robins. “I have tremendous faith in John Degnan, becoming a partner to Richard Bagger and Scott Rechler who are currently chairing the boards of special oversight committee that has been charged with trying to find out what was wrong with the Port Authority and how to make it better.”
Robins predicts that the Transportation Trust Fund will run out of money by July 2015. To deal with the issue, some Democrats want to increase the gas tax, but Christie opposes the increase. Robins said that the issue has been kicked down the road over and over again since 2003. According to Robins, Gov. Jon Corzine raised the sales tax and not the gas tax because he felt he could not do both.
Robins said that officials may have to increase the gas tax.
“If this is the only tool that they have available, it might require a few more cents per gallon to raise the sufficient amount of money to fuel our transportation needs,” said Robins.
One of the options to reform the Port Authority would be for the PATH system to be turned over to NJ Transit, which Robins said is an idea with a certain amount of intrigue.
“It’s the beginning of a discussion, it’s not the end,” said Robins. “I have some thoughts about how a trade could be made for ultimately turning over PATH to NJ Transit in return for a major capitol contribution by the Port Authority to a project like the gateway project that Amtrak is proposing.”