New Jersey lawmakers gave preliminary approval to a jet-fuel tax that would force United Continental Holdings Inc. to pay for expanded passenger rail at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Airlines are exempt from the state’s gross-receipts tax on petroleum products, with the exception of the fuel used during taxiing and take-off. A bill approved by the Senate budget committee would change that by taxing all the fuel used by companies that carrying at least 8 million passengers annually. The proceeds would pay for a train service operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Chicago-based United is the only operator large enough to be affected, with 14.6 million passengers boarding at Newark annually, according to its website.

The bill must be passed by the legislature and signed by the governor to become law. New Jersey’s Democratic-controlled legislature in June approved a $37.4 billion budget that raised or placed new taxes on corporations, those with incomes exceeding $5 million and companies that provide car-sharing services and liquid nicotine. Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat who took office in January, signed the budget.

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Photo Credit: Lawmakers in New Jersey want to raise taxes on United for fuel. Pictured is a United jet landing at Newark. Bloomberg