New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation intended to help gas stations better prepare for future emergencies.
The bill would create a pilot program that would provide no-interest loans to install wiring for generators at gas stations near evacuation routes
The loans of up to $10,000 would have to be repaid within 10 years.
The money for the program would come from the state’s 911 System and Emergency Response Trust Fund.
It would be a good investment, says Assemblywoman Annette Quijano.
“It’s the safety of the New Jersey residents,” said Quijano, D-Union. “You want to make sure that you have gas if you need to evacuate. And if you need to go to work while we have an emergency you need to be able to get to your job.”
The inability to get fuel from distributors was the major problem for gas stations after Sandy, said the executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline and Convenience Store Association.
Sal Risalvato says more stations with generators doesn’t necessarily mean it would be easier for drivers to find gas during emergencies.
“I’m not sure it will actually help mitigate any problems in a future storm,” he said Thursday. “There are some small-business owners that are willing to take the risk. This will ease that a little bit and maybe prompt them to do it.”
Sponsors of the legislation say it’s just one of the steps they’re taking to better prepare the state for any emergency conditions.