Kean Jr. Says Port Authority Veto Override Will Fail

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The George Washington Bridge is viewed on February 10, 2015 in New York City.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New Jersey Senate Democrats’ attempt to override Governor Chris Christie’s veto of a bill to overhaul the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey will fail, the legislature’s top Republican leader said.

Democrats, who control both the Senate and Assembly, don’t have enough votes to override the governor, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., a Republican from Westfield, said in an interview on Monday. He urged the opposing party to consider his compromise bill, which would change the agency’s management structure and liquidate its real-estate holdings.

“My hope is that once the majority party gets through with the partisan hijinx, we can once again focus on bipartisan reform,” Kean said in Trenton. “It’s clear that this bill is stalled in both New York and New Jersey.”

Because the Port Authority is a bi-state agency, any overhaul must clear both legislatures. New York and New Jersey lawmakers unanimously passed the measure, which was vetoed by Christie, a Republican, and Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on the Saturday evening after Christmas.

Senator Robert Gordon, a Democrat from Fair Lawn who sponsored the authority overhaul measure, and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat from West Deptford who scheduled the override vote, didn’t immediately return telephone calls seeking comment. Sweeney told reporters this month that Kean’s proposal is a “distraction.”

The pair, along with Democratic Senator Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck, have said Kean’s bill doesn’t go far enough in clamping down on conflicts of interests and ensuring authority properties aren’t shed in a “fire sale.”

Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for Christie, didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment on the planned override.

In New York, where an override isn’t possible after a new legislature was seated in January, the overhaul bill was re-introduced earlier this year by sponsor Assemblyman Jim Brennan, a Brooklyn Democrat.