– State Rep. Joe Emrick (R-Nazareth) was in the process of circulating co-sponsor memos for his legislation to bring more accountability to operations of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC) when the news hit.
“I was about to press ‘send’ on my computer keyboard and officially inform my fellow House members of my legislation when I received an email that contained details of the commission awarding a contract to repair the Portland-Columbia Toll Bridge,” Emrick said. “The contract is a perfect example of the need for my legislation. I quickly passed along the news story to my colleagues for further ammunition and support for my bills.”
Emrick was referring to the DRJTBC awarding the $6.32 million construction contract to Intercounty Paving Associates, for whom DRJTBC Chairman David DeGerolamo works.
The three-bill package, which passed the House unanimously each of the last two sessions, would do the following:
||Require an annual financial and management audit of expenditures and operations of the commission, as opposed to a biennial performance audit.
||Empower Pennsylvania’s governor with a 10-day window to invoke veto power over any decision made by the commission.
||Give similar veto power to the governor with regard to actions of any individual commissioner.
“I’m aware Commissioner DeGerolamo recused himself while the vote was taken and was not present during contract negotiations,” added Emrick. “Take a moment and read the online version coverage of the story and the responses to it. I’m not the only one who thinks this deal looks bad.
“My legislation inserts a level of accountability into the commission’s activities that is sorely lacking. While this is not a statewide issue, it is an interstate issue as New Jersey has already agreed to this and is waiting on us to fulfil our half of the agreement. I hope my House colleagues can see the need for these measures and get this issue resolved.”
Questions about this or any legislative issue should be directed to Emrick’s Mt. Bethel office at (570) 897-0401 or his Nazareth office at (610) 746-5090.
Representative Joe Emrick
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little