Vitale-Sacco ‘E-ZPass For Gas’ Bill Approved By Senate Panel

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale which would urge the Turnpike Authority to work with New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway service area vendors to allow motorists to pay for gasoline purchases using their E-ZPass tags was unanimously approved by the Senate Transportation Committee today.

“The E-ZPass system was designed to simplify life for thousands of motorists on our State’s toll roads, and by extending the tags’ purchasing power to cover gasoline purchases on those toll roads, we’re continuing that mission,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “Considering that, in peak summer months, many of the gas stations in service areas on the Parkway and Turnpike are more gridlocked than the worst toll plazas, this make sense.”

In the early days of E-ZPass, it was always intended that the tags would eventually have broader use than just toll payment,” said Senator Sacco, D-Hudson and Bergen, the Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. “We have the technology to do it, as is evidenced by the ability of tagholders to pay for parking at Newark Liberty International Airport, as well as JFK and LaGuardia. There’s no reason in the world not to expand the use of E-ZPass tags.”

The bill, SR-91, would urge the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to work with Turnpike and Parkway service area operators to allow motorists to pay for gasoline with their E-ZPass tags. To ensure that the third-party vendors get paid for the gasoline purchases, only E-ZPass customers whose accounts are automatically replenished with a credit card will be able to take advantage of this service. Because of the Turnpike Authority’s relationship with gas stations that operate on the toll roads, the sponsors believed that gas purchases on the toll roads would be the easiest to implement.

“Because the Turnpike Authority has a preexisting business relationship with the gas stations on our State’s toll roads, using the E-ZPass tags to buy gas at those locations is the easiest first step towards expanding their use,” said Senator Sacco. “However, I imagine that we are just beginning the conversation as to how we can allow E-ZPass customers to use their tags to make life more convenient. We will continue to explore this issue to benefit New Jersey’s drivers to the maximum.”

“So many commuters in New Jersey spend so much of their lives behind the wheel, and we should do whatever we can to make life easier on them,” said Senator Vitale. “Expanding E-ZPass to gas purchases, in the grand scheme of State government, is a relatively minor move, but one that will have a real-world impact on the thousands of commuting New Jerseyans that travel our toll roads every day. This is, quite simply, good government.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.