TRENTON – State Sen. Barbara Buono today introduced legislation that would aid gas stations, fire companies, health care providers, and first aid, rescue and emergency squads in better preparing for natural disasters and power outages by providing them with assistance in purchasing power generators.
“It isn’t just a matter of having enough gas to get to the store or to get to work when businesses reopen,” said Buono (D-Middlesex.) “It’s a matter of public safety and public health for people who need gas to keep their own generators going, including facilities that care for New Jerseyans who require special attention, such as individuals on ventilators or other life support equipment.”
The bill would direct the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to provide low-interest loans for the purchase and installation of an alternative power generation device to eligible businesses deemed by the State Office of Emergency Management as vital to the public interest following a disaster. This would include fire and emergency squads, hospitals and health care providers, and gas stations. The bill would require the EDA to start accepting applications for these loans no later than 91 days after the enactment of the bill.
The bill would also require the Division of Purchase and Property under the State Department of the Treasury to enter into a purchasing agreement with a supplier of alternative power generation devices so that eligible businesses could buy generators using a bulk rate.
Finally, the bill would require the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority to include in any contract for the right to sell fuel on New Jersey’s toll roads – including the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway – a provision requiring the gasoline retailer to be equipped with and maintain a power generator or a device necessary to operate pumps, payment acceptance equipment, pump shutoff switches and other safety equipment.
“Frustrated motorists shouldn’t have to wait in lines that are a hundred cars long at the relatively few gas stations with generators,” Buono said. “Because of the high demand after Sandy, those gas stations quickly ran out, while other gas stations with full underground tanks sit idle nearby because their pumps won’t operate.”
The measure was introduced today. It has not yet been referred to a Senate committee.