By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Those long lines at the gas stations in the wake of Hurricane Sandy should not be repeated when the next emergency rolls around, two Bay Ridge lawmakers said.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) and state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) said they are joining forces with assembly members Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville) and Pete Lopez (R-Schoharie) to draft new legislation to help prevent the long lines and long waits for gas that occurred following Super-storm Sandy.
The legislation would provide a tax credit of up to $15,000 to encourage gas stations and convenience stores across the state to install commercial generators to keep gas flowing when the power grid is down. A commercial-size generator costs between $5,000 and $30,000 to install and up to another $8,000 a year to maintain.
There are 7,200 service stations in New York, about half of which are located in the New York City area.
After the super-storm hit, many gas stations that had fuel were unable to remain open due to lack of electricity. This caused gas shortages and rationing, resulting in frustratingly long lines at the gas pump, the lawmakers said. The long lines caused officials to institute a policy of gas rationing in early November, Slate reported.
Drivers would often get in line and wait for hours on end even if a gas station was closed, in the hope that gas would become available once the station re-opened.
“The lines of people waiting to purchase gasoline in my district in the days following Hurricane Sandy were unlike anything I had seen before. The gas lines were comprised not only of cars but also people on foot in search of fuel to power generators for basic necessities,” Malliotakis said.
“By providing a tax credit to these small businesses to purchase generators, a big ticket item they might otherwise be unable to afford, we are investing in and better preparing our communities for a future power outage or blackout,” she said.
“This tax incentive will encourage gas stations to take the necessary steps to be ready for such instances. A common sense solution like this will prevent the long lines, the arguments and give people peace of mind, knowing they will be able to get gas and subsequently travel,” Golden said.
Golden said the legislation should be ready to introduce soon.