MORE THAN a year ago , the Delaware River Port Authority vowed to turn over a new leaf and stop borrowing money to fund economic-development projects. The action was part of a general housecleaning that also banned officials and their offspring from toll-free rides across the bridges, from car allowances, and from other perks.
We were remiss back then not to rename the agency - which boasts a debt exceeding $1 billion - to better reflect its mission, and we think we've finally found the right name for the DRPA: Draining the Riding Public's Assets. Because whatever new leaf was supposedly turned, has fallen off the tree. The board voted this week to spend $20 million for private-sector projects like a rowing course on the Cooper River, a $6-million cancer center and student housing at Rutgers-Camden.
The $20 million was the lion's share of $30 million that remained in an economic-development fund. Last year, the DRPA drew heat for funding such projects. The agency will turn $10 million back for capital improvements and transit-related projects.
The DRPA has borrowed money to fund economic-development projects, far off the mark of its main mission of managing and overseeing bridges and trains. The DRPA agreed to stop such funding last year, but reasoned that since Pennsylvania projects had gotten a taste at the trough, so should New Jersey.
This is it, though. No more. "Just once more" is the battle cry of the junkie.
The DRPA has no business building itself up as a benefactor to New Jersey or Pennsylvania projects. Gov. Christie seems to be the only person in a position to stop this, since he's the only one with veto power.
That's unlikely to happen. But it's worth a try: contact his office about this latest outrage: Gov. Chris Christie, Office of the Governor; Box 001; Trenton, NJ 08625 ; 609-292-6000.