(TRENTON) -- Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Wayne DeAngelo, Tim Eustace, and Nicholas Chiaravalloti 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 an Assembly committee on Monday.
            The bill (A-1445) 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. 
            "People who are thinking of investing in an electric car need to know there will be an infrastructure in place to support it," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "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."
            There currently are more than 11,000 alternative fueling stations in the United States and 78 in New Jersey. More than 13,000 drivers in New Jersey could purchase their first plug-in vehicle within the next three years, noted the sponsors.
            “With the right policies in place in New Jersey, plug-in vehicles could reduce oil dependence by a few million gallons each year,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “As a result, this bill will save a significant amount of money for both drivers and our state.”
            "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). "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."
            “Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular in our state, which means the chance of drivers experiencing dangerous situations such as running out of power and being stranded on toll roads is also increasing,” said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “We need to think about the safety of our citizens first, and installing more charging stations along our highways will help to avoid what could become a serious safety hazard for those driving electric cars.”
            The measure was approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee. It will now be considered for a vote by the full Assembly.