A bill halfway through the New Jersey statehouse is intended to help keep fuel stations along evacuation routes up and running during an emergency.
The Assembly voted unanimously to advance a bill to the Senate that would offer zero-interest loans to affected fuel stations to pay for wiring to generators during power outages. Specifically, it would create a two-year pilot program that would offer loans for as much as $10,000 for up to 10 years.
Supporters say the bill would help avoid another fuel crisis like the one that was experienced following Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.
Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, D-Union, said that something needs to be done to avoid a repeat of the post-Sandy lines and confusion.
“We’ve heard from many gas station owners that they simply don’t have the appropriate equipment and wiring to install generators for use during power outages, so rather than force changes upon them, let’s help them take the steps needed,” Quijano said in a news release.
Qualified fuel stations would be those located within one-half mile of an evacuation route.
Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, D-Union, said that if the pilot program works well, he would like to see it extended statewide.
Critics say the bill doesn’t address the real problem from the fall storm. They say that damage to distribution terminals at ports disabled supply lines that prevented fuel stations from getting fuel to sell.
The bill – A3930 – awaits consideration in the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
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