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How to rid the Port Authority of politics and patronage

Two Port Authority experts explain what changes they would make to the transit agency in the wake of "Bridgegate."

The Port Authority was created in 1921 as a bi-state partnership between New Jersey and New York, aimed at maintaining and protecting the ports of New York City. It's gained a lot of attention in the wake of the Chris Christie "Bridgegate" scandal.

Though the original intent of the Port Authority was to put the importance of the region’s transit and ports above partisan politics, experts such as Port Authority expert Jim Doig and former Port Authority official Martin Robins said the agency has become the opposite.

Doig told Lawrence O’Donnell that when Chris Christie became governor, “He had a very different view. He saw the possibility of putting a fair number of his associates, friends, those who worked on political campaigns into office." Doig added,  "And that finally led to more than 50 patronage appointees.”

Robins agreed, saying that he “hears constantly from acquaintances, former colleagues, retirees how dispirited they are by the loss of mission” of the Port Authority.

The experts also offered their advice on ways to eliminate patronage and politics at the agency. Doig suggested they could benefit from an outside review commission made up of “independent and are highly-regarded” former Port Authority officials. Robins said the best way to improve the Port Authority is “to somehow corner the governors” and have them work together on a shared vision.