TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee passed Assemblyman Edward Thomson’s bill on Thursday to allow county airports to operate independently, which would aid in expansion and economic development.
The bill (A2861) permits county governments to manage an airport as a public utility, separating it from other county accounts. It also allows counties to issue bonds for airport acquisition and operation under the Local Bond Law.
“This is a permissive bill that would allow county airports to remove barriers to expansion and boost the economy,” Thomson (R-Monmouth) explained. “Removing the red-tape for our county-owned airports will increase efficiency and allow much-needed safety improvements to move forward, which would also support good jobs.”
The two county-owned airports in the state affected by this bill are Trenton-Mercer and Ocean. A county airport utility would be similar to that of a county utilities authority where the authority’s members determine the budget and operations, not the county’s commissioners or county executive.
The Senate unanimously passed the bill (S1535) on March 3.