Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace, Daniel Benson and Liz Muoio requiring the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority to provide electric vehicle recharging stations at certain rest areas along the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway gained approval from the General Assembly on Monday.
“There is nothing worse than running out of gas on a dark and busy highway. It’s not only a nuisance; it is not safe,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic), who owns an electric car and knows first- hand the difficulty of finding a charging station. “The number of electric cars being driven on our roads may not match the number of gas-fueled cars, but we still have a responsibility to provide these drivers with sufficient fueling and charging stations, especially on heavily-travelled highways.”
The bill (A-1728) requires the aforementioned authorities to equip service areas along the toll roads under their respective jurisdictions with electric vehicle charging stations which would charge plug-in electric motor vehicles. Under the bill, the charging stations are required to be installed in at least 5 percent of service area parking spaces in service areas with at least 100 spaces to which the public is invited.
There currently are more than 11,000 alternative fueling stations in the United States and 78 in New Jersey. According to a 2012 report by Environment New Jersey, a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization, more than 13,000 drivers in New Jersey could purchase their first plug-in vehicle within the next three years. The report stated that with the right policies in place in New Jersey, plug-in vehicles could reduce oil dependence by more than three million gallons per year.
“There is little point in investing in an electric car if the infrastructure is not there to support it,” said Eustace. “This bill helps residents who already own electric cars, as well as those who are considering buying one, but are worried about the accessibility of charging and refueling stations.”
The bill was approved 44-25-2 by the Assembly.