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Sen. Lesniak: Port Authority Board Needs a Public Member

4-14-14

Port Authority Commissioner Anthony Sartor has resigned and Sen. Ray Lesniak told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that bringing in someone from a public organization, such as AAA, to replace Sartor is the best way to go because no one will trust someone else selected by Gov. Chris Christie.

“Anyone other than someone selected by Christie or the Senate president would be better to replace Sartor. I think the public needs a public interest person and AAA is the one that I suggest that is best. They have 640,000 motorists who are members that are suing the Port Authority over the toll increase. They represent the motorists of the state of New Jersey, they have no political interest,” said Lesniak. “We had a phony toll increase announcement conjured up by Christie and Gov. Cuomo. The board was in on it. This was all phony and fake. If there was a public member or a few on the board, they wouldn’t be able to get away with that. David Wildstein would not have gotten away with the lane closings. This is the best and simplest reform. Just put some folks with the public’s view on the board and not any political view.”

Lesniak said that putting public members on the board has not ever happened before, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.

He said that the name of a person cannot come from the governor. He said that whoever Christie nominates is going to be suspect and someone is needed on the board who the public can trust.

Lesniak said that it is about getting back the trust of the public. He said that the nominee can be from an organization and be someone who is not part of partisan politics.

Lesniak said that since the Port Authority is one board, there needs to be representation from both New Jersey and New York.

“Christie made the Port Authority a wholly owned subsidiary of his reelection campaign,” said Lesniak.

Casino numbers were released today, and Lesniak said that Christie’s program to bring back Atlantic City has been a total failure; it was too little and too late. He said that internet gaming, which he sponsored, only keeps the lights on and keeps the flow of money there.

Lesniak said that internet gaming is not making nearly as much as Christie hoped for — about 50 percent of projections. He said that it is a start-up business that keeps casinos from closing and saves thousands of jobs, but it is not the lifesaver. Lesniak said that allowing sports betting would make a difference, and that it’s the last hope for the industry.