Wednesday Waste: A Night of Tango

Wednesday Waste | April 4, 2012

Between Pennsylvania and New Jersey runs the Delaware River. To ensure the safety of those crossing the Delaware in either direction, the Delaware River Port Authority was created. Though its main objective today is to maintain the crossings currently present on the Delaware, should the agency run a surplus it is permitted to invest in economic development.

Funded by tolls at multiple locations along the Delaware, the agency’s charter requires that all funds be used for maintenance and repairs before any investments be made. Ignoring the charter, the agency borrowed $440 million to invest in economic- development projects while current maintenance projects on some of its facilities went unfinished. The loans were then shifted to outright grants by the government.

According to a report by the New Jersey Comptroller, Matthew Boxer, the borrowed money was spent improperly in a number of ways. $10,000 dollars for a cocktail happy hour and carriage rides and $15,000 dollars for three galas including an “Argentina-Night of Tango.” Boxer commented, “To state the obvious, commuters who pay to cross the Delaware River every day should not have their toll money used for DRPA officials to enjoy a carriage ride through Philadelphia or a ‘night of tango and wine.’”

We happen to agree with Mr. Boxer. Hopefully the agency will learn to fund the repair of bridges taking commuters across the Delaware instead of nights of tango.

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