Christie's letter, released five hours after Rendell's, proposed additional changes, including a requirement that all charitable contributions receive board approval so that money for "pet projects" is doled out with proper oversight.
He also wants the authority to strengthen the board's conflict-of-interest policy to make clear that commissioners and employees may not use DRPA time or resources to engage in political activities. The agency should impose a requirement that vendors and vendor principals disclose all political contributions made within the last four years, he said.
The politically connected agency has been under fire following revelations that then-public safety director Michael Joyce borrowed another official's free E-ZPass for his daughter to use on the agency's $4 bridges over 18 months.
Joyce resigned Tuesday, but the DRPA continues to draw scrutiny. Officials confirmed that the New Jersey State Comptroller's Office, which audits public agencies, on Wednesday e-mailed the authority with a request for documents.
The $300-million-a-year agency operates four toll bridges and the PATCO rail line between South Jersey and Philadelphia.
"I recognize again that the DRPA has implemented a series of important reforms in recent years that have significantly improved the efficiency and transparency of the authority's operations," Rendell wrote. "But I also believe that the proposals set forth here are critically important to the task of restoring public confidence" in the agency.
Christie said he would not hesitate to exercise his veto authority over any DRPA board action that does not conform to the changes he and Rendell have proposed.
DRPA leaders expressed support for the recommendations.
Chairman John Estey, a Philadelphia lawyer who is Rendell's former chief of staff, said the DRPA would draw up board resolutions on the proposals.
Though the authority's next board meeting is not scheduled for another three weeks, Estey suggested that the DRPA convene beforehand to receive input on the changes from commissioners and the public.
"The goal is to make sure that our customers, the toll-payers and fare-payers, feel comfortable knowing that their hard-earned money has been spent effectively, efficiently and prudently," said Vice Chairman Jeff Nash, a Camden County lawyer.
The DRPA has enacted other changes in recent years, such as eliminating the use of new toll money for economic development projects. "This goes to the next level," Nash added.
Both governors want the DRPA to enact policies requiring public votes by board members on all contracts and imposing a "no outside employment" requirement for all employees at the level of director and above, unless otherwise approved by board resolution.
They also want a ban on commissioners and employees exerting "any undue influence" on hiring decisions and contract selection, as well as a compensation review study to determine appropriate pay for DRPA senior managers.
The Pennsylvania auditor general is "in full support of an audit and has offered his experience in developing an audit plan and serving as the board's liaison to the auditors," spokesman Nate Collins said in a statement.
He said, however, that government auditing standards prohibit his department from auditing the DRPA because the auditor general is an ex-officio member of the board. Christie and Rendell had sought an audit by the Pennsylvania auditor general and the New Jersey comptroller, or some outside auditor.
DRPA board member John Dougherty, a Philadelphia labor leader who has been demanding changes, said enacting the proposals "will bring us to the point where we'll earn back the [toll-payers'] trust, but they won't solve the issues."
He commended Rendell and Christie for their intervention, saying, "Of course I agree with them, but I also believe that we need personnel changes as much as we need language changes."
Contact staff writer Maya Rao at 856-779-3220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.