ASSEMBLY, No. 2416


with committee amendments






      The Assembly Transportation and Communications Committee favorably reports Assembly Bill No. 2416 with committee amendments.

      This amended bill authorizes the Commission of Transportation to expend monies from the Airport Safety Fund to provide loans in amounts not exceeding $200,000 to unrestricted public use airports and New Jersey based aviation enterprises. Loans may be provided for revenue or nonrevenue generating capital construction, capital development, or equipment acquisition purposes, however, loans could not be provided for projects that would expand the physical capability of an airport to handle more flights or larger aircraft. An "aviation enterprise" is defined as any business or enterprise which is principally located within a New Jersey unrestricted public use airport where the commissioner has determined such business or enterprise has a direct economic or operational benefit to the airport.

      The bill additionally provides that the commissioner may expend monies from the Airport Safety Fund to establish, operate or provide any program or activity which promotes aviation safety, aviation education or provides for the promotion of aeronautics. However, the amount of monies expended for these purposes cannot exceed in a fiscal year 10 percent of the total amount of monies appropriated in that fiscal year to the Airport Safety Fund.

      Finally, the bill specifies that appropriations from the Special Transportation Fund to the Airport Safety Fund will be nonlapsing and removes the restriction that these funds be used for capital purposes only.

      The Airport Safety Fund was established in 1983 and is financed by certain taxes on the sale of aviation fuels and fees imposed by Title 6 of the Revised Statutes, statutes that regulate aviation in this State.

Anticipated revenue from these sources is $850,000 for Fiscal Year

1997. As part of the reauthorized Transportation Trust Fund, the Airport Safety Fund can expect to be augmented with funds from the trust fund on an annual basis; $10 million was appropriated in Fiscal Year 1997. These State funds, along with matching federal aviation money, are currently used for grants and loans to publicly and privately owned airports for various improvements, and safety and land acquisition programs.

      The committee amended the bill to prohibit the Department of Transportation from making Airport Safety Fund loans for revenue or nonrevenue generating capital construction, capital development, or equipment acquisition if the loans are for purpose of expanding, preparing for an expansion or completing an expansion of the physical capabilities of the airport to support a greater number of flights or larger aircraft than that which the airport is able to handle within the safety parameters applicable to that airport at the time of the loan application, with a certain exception. The amendment also limits the amount of each loan to $200,000.

      As reported by the committee, this bill is identical to Senate Bill No.1408 (2R).