John J. Degnan Quotes

We want to give people an opportunity to be heard on issues that may be taken under advisement and voted upon by the board during the meeting, by hearing the public first rather than after the actions have been taken.

Prior to this policy change, the Port Authority made and started to implement decisions and THEN held public hearings. The Port Authority is a bi-state organization that is the largest building authority in the country. It has built and operated all the bridges and tunnels connecting New York City Boroughs and the City with New Jersey and Long Island. They also have built and operated many of the major highways and recreation centers in New York City and Long Island. Additionally, it erects large buildings and other facilities like the World Trade Center. It’s funding comes directly from tolls, rents and other income from its facilities and the bonds that it floats, and so does not need any funding from either state. It actually makes a huge profit. It was started by Robert Moses, who wanted Independence of operation from the States of New Jersey and New York and the New York City Government. Moses was known for his authoritarian, non-consultative style, and subsequent Chairman tried to maintain that. Moses and the Port Authority had stayed clear of political influence and corruption. However, gradually the appointees were more and more beholden to the Governors of the two states and in 2014 a major scandal erupted where the New Jersey Governor’s staff was using the Port Authority to punish communities what did not support the Republican Governor Christie. This triggered calls for reform of which this new policy was one of the first.

John J. Degnan, Chairman, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Attorney General of New Jersey, Announcing a new policy, Quoted in Patrick McGeehan,, “With New Leader After Bridge Scandal, Port Authority Moves to Add Transparency”, New York Times, September 17, 2014

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John J. Degnan was the Attorney General of New Jersey from 1978 until 1981. He was vice chairman and chief operating officer of The Chubb Corporation until 2010, and in 2014 became Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ).

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