For immediate release
August 9, 2018
Following Senate President Steve Sweeney’s introduction of a bill to close United’s jet fuel tax break and fund the PATH extension to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), UNITE HERE has released a new report in support of the legislation. The report, “Does United Need a Free Ride?,” details how the airline stands to benefit from the extension and why the millions of dollars United saves from the tax break each year should fund the critical transit project.
Download the report here. Some key findings:
- In September 2017, the Port Authority earmarked $1 billion to extend the PATH to EWR, leaving the project at least $700 million short of its total estimated cost and in competition with other critical projects for funds.
- The PATH extension is projected to shift traffic from JFK and LaGuardia to United Airlines’ Newark hub, where United accounts for more than 10 times as much passenger traffic as the next-biggest carrier. The extension will also link the airline directly to an enormously valuable lower Manhattan market. As detailed in the report, an increase in United’s share of overall New York air travel by just 1% could mean an estimated additional $200 million per year in revenue for the airline.
- Meanwhile, New Jersey drivers pay 37.5 cents in taxes for every gallon of gas they buy, but airlines like United pay the State of New Jersey only 4 cents per gallon of jet fuel, and even that only apples to the portion used during taxiing and takeoff. United saved an estimated $5.5 million in 2016 due to this tax break, as detailed in the report, while the 2016 gas tax hike to fund New Jersey transportation infrastructure left United’s jet fuel tax bill untouched.
- The report also finds that New Jersey can commit United’s jet fuel tax revenue to the PATH extension in compliance with federal regulations. New Jersey needs to adjust how it spends jet fuel tax revenue to meet those federal regulations regardless.
UNITE HERE represents over 1,500 workers at EWR who will benefit from the PATH train extension made more feasible by Sen. Sweeney’s sensible plan.