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Sweeney/Ruiz/Cunningham/Cryan Bill Would Help Fund PATH Extension

Jet Fuel Tax Would Provide Major Boost To Critical Transit Link With Newark Liberty Airport & Newark Communities

TrentonA Senate committee today approved a legislative plan authored by Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, Senator Sandra Cunningham and Senator Joe Cryan that would provide funding for a key transportation project which would link transit services among Newark Airport, Newark’s Penn Station, midtown Manhattan and other communities in Newark.

The action would be a major boost for the $1.7 billion extension of the Port Authority’s PATH train service to Newark Liberty International Airport. Senator Sweeney said the project is “critically important,” given how big a role the airport plays in New Jersey.

“Newark Airport is the cornerstone of a transportation network that is a key component of the state’s economy, creating jobs and sustaining economic growth,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Providing a direct link to lower Manhattan will make Newark Liberty the airport of choice for those doing business in the financial center of the world and it will help ease roadway congestion by creating a direct PATH connection for passengers and airport employees alike.”

The project would extend the existing train service from its current termination point at Newark Penn Station several miles south to the Northeast Corridor Rail Link Station in Newark‘s South Ward, which would have the added benefit of revitalizing parts of Newark. The station is serviced by NJ Transit and Amtrak trains, both of which provide service to midtown Manhattan.

“The addition of subway access in those two neighborhoods would provide low- and moderate-income families direct train service to New York City,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “This could generate substantial economic development in the area. This bill clearly points to the South Street stop and the South Ward stop, which would bring the rail line into two areas that haven’t had easy access to a rail system.”

The measure, S-2892, would effectively expand the state’s taxes on aviation fuel to four cents per gallon on all fuel purchased in New Jersey by eliminating the current tax exemption on fuel used for actual flight time. Under existing law, the state only collects taxes on fuel used during taxiing and takeoff.

New Jersey now has one of the lowest aviation fuel tax rates in the nation.

“Removing the exemption that effectively limits surcharges on fuel used for takeoffs and landings will bring New Jersey in line with the practices of most other states,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson). “This is a legitimate and effective means of funding upgrades and improvements to a system that provides direct services to the airport. It will benefit the entire northern region of the state.”

The bill would require all revenue from New Jersey’s aviation fuel taxes to go toward the cost of the PATH extension. A large portion of the passengers are out-of-state airline customers.

“This will put men and women to work in good paying jobs on a project that will than support long-term economic activity,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union). “The rail system is a key part of the state’s transportation infrastructure that is the lifeline of the flow of goods and services in New Jersey.”

The bill was revised in committee to apply to all airlines.

The bill would result in an estimated increase in state revenue of approximately $36 million to $40 million per year.

After the PATH extension has been completed, the additional revenue would be dedicated for airport safety or improvement projects through the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Airport Improvement Program.

The PATH project is included in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s 10-year capital plan, which assumes the project will receive $730 million in grants from the Federal Transit Administration.

The bill, approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, would take effect 90 days following enactment.