By David Madden

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — It will not cost you more to cross the DRPA bridges or use PATCO trains in the coming year.  And long debated ethical changes at the Delaware River Port Authority have now been set in stone.

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The DRPA today passed a $257-million budget, which cuts spending by more than six percent.  That was no small feat, according to DRPA board chair David Simon (far right at table).

“Because of the relatively dramatic rise in pension costs, which is not within our control, we really had to cut in other areas of the operation in order to meet our budget targets,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

The agency today also concluded its lengthy process to codify new ethics policies and eliminate perks like free EZ Passes (see previous stories).

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“It’s one thing, obviously, to have the will to want to do that,” says DRPA CEO John Matheussen (back to camera, to Simon’s left).  “To put together the day-by-day rules and regulations that make these things permanent requires another whole level of making certain that it happened.”

The new ethics policy, demanded by Governors Corbett and Christie, will be overseen by an inspector general who helped develop it.  It includes a ban on political activity by staffers and commissioners alike.

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