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New Jersey Senate Sets Date On Port Authority Veto Override

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Hoping to defy Republican Gov. Chris Christie's veto of a bill overhauling the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, lawmakers are mounting a campaign to override him in the state Senate.

Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and state Sen. Bob Gordon, one of the bill's chief sponsors, announced a vote for March 5. They say they'll need just two Republican votes to send the override attempt to the Assembly.

No override attempt has succeeded in Christie's five years as governor, but Gordon said he is optimistic because the Port Authority has come under additional scrutiny recently, and he and Weinberg plan to take the next month to persuade Republicans.

New Jersey Senate Sets Date On Port Authority Veto Override

"It is time to fix the Port Authority," Gordon told reporters, including WCBS 880's Levon Putney.

Reforming the authority, which operates the region's bridges, tunnels and airports, would require both states to enact the same bill. No effort to override the veto was made in New York, where lawmakers began a new legislative session on Wednesday. But supporters of the bill plan to reintroduce the legislation this year.

Weinberg invoked the lane closure scandal at the George Washington Bridge and noted that Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of an email from a former Christie staffer who called for traffic problems at the bridge.

That episode in part prompted the legislation, she said.

"We delivered on that reform. Now it's time to finish the job,'' she said.

Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month vetoed a bill that had passed unanimously in both Legislatures. It would have established an inspector general, restricted lobbying and called for a regular audit of the bistate agency.

The governors instead embraced recommendations from a special panel they formed, which included seeking the resignation of the commissioners and streamlining the authority's top posts.

State Senate Republican leader Tom Kean Jr. has said he supports the governors' reforms and that he would work toward finding common ground, but he has not said say if he would oppose the override attempt.

Democratic Assemblyman James Brennan of Brooklyn, a lead sponsor of the bill in New York, said he's open to considering Cuomo's own proposed reforms as well.

Gordon says he has talked to Brennan about mounting a new effort in Albany and that the effort there could take up to four months.

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(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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