Vehicle owners this month faced a $3 registration surcharge to help pay for Medevac-related expenses. Biondi was one of the lawmakers who voted earlier this year to raise the surcharge from $1 to $3, but he said at the time he voted, he did not realize that private companies could provide the same service.

The state used to use only out-of-state, private operators as a back-up when the Medevac program was unavailable for emergencies. But about a year, after a lawsuit, private firms in New Jersey also began providing services such as flying patients between hospitals and responding to emergencies when Medevac can’t.

At least one state health official wants to keep the service the way it is. Assistant Health Commissioner David Gruber, who oversees the Medevac program, noted that it has been in operation since 1988 and charges a flat rate of $1,337 for each flight.

It was Topper’s lawsuit two years ago that forced the state to license private operators in the Garden State; his company currently provides medical flights out of Trenton-Mercer Airport.

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