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Pallone and Pascrell demand Transparency in Sandy Recovery Effort

Press Release 7/28/15

Rep. Frank Pallone

Rep. Frank Pallone

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressmen Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09) called on the Christie Administration to release additional information detailing how Sandy aid funds are being spent in New Jersey.  In their letter to the New Jersey Department of the Treasury, the Congressmen called for more transparency in its Sandy Integrity Oversight Monitoring reports.  Specifically, the lawmakers referenced an NJ Transit report, released this month, which failed to include information on the work performed by NJ Transit with millions of dollars in recovery funds.

In their letter, the Congressmen wrote, “The public has a right to know how NJ Transit is utilizing its recovery funds and whether this money is being spent properly.  We fought hard in Congress to pass the Sandy aid package by assuring our colleagues that Sandy recovery funds were desperately needed and would be spent wisely.”

The Congressmen also called for the public disclosure of NJ Transit’s disaster preparedness plans, as they wrote, “so the public has confidence New Jersey’s rail infrastructure will be protected should another storm hit.”

The full text of the letter follows.

July 28, 2015

Robert A. Romano

Acting State Treasurer

Department of the Treasury

P. O. Box 002

Trenton, NJ 08625-0002

Dear Acting State Treasurer Romano,

We write today regarding a recent integrity oversight monitoring report reviewing NJ Transit Superstorm Sandy recovery funding.  We are concerned with the lack of detail in this integrity monitor report and request that more transparency be provided so the public can understand what mistakes have been made in the Sandy recovery process and how Sandy aid funds are being spent in New Jersey.

This integrity monitor report does not include any information regarding the work performed by NJ Transit with millions of dollars in recovery funds.  The public has a right to know how NJ Transit is utilizing its recovery funds and whether this money is being spent properly.  We fought hard in Congress to pass the Sandy aid package by assuring our colleagues that Sandy recovery funds were desperately needed and would be spent wisely.

As the agency responsible for supervising the reporting process it is incumbent upon you to ensure NJ Transit appropriately discloses information to the public.  However, attempts by the public to access NJ Transit’s policies and plans to address flooding risks to its infrastructure have been repeatedly denied.  We believe that NJ Transit must publicly disclose its disaster preparedness plans, in addition to the contents of integrity oversight monitoring reports, so the public has confidence New Jersey’s rail infrastructure will be protected should another storm hit.

We respectfully request that all Superstorm Sandy integrity oversight monitoring reports provide full transparency and details on how the recovery funds have been spent, including the “observations and recommendations [that] have been provided to NJ Transit Internal Audit Department” listed in the NJ Transit 2015 first quarter report.  The public deserves to know whether taxpayer dollars are being spent properly.  Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

FRANK PALLONE, JR.                                           BILL PASCRELL, JR.

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress

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