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SJTA Saw Slight Growth Last Year, Despite Sandy, Economy

Revenues were up and the authority is pursuing projects, according to Acting Executive Director Sam Donelson.

Despite all the problems caused by Superstorm Sandy, the South Jersey Transportation Authority remained out of reach for both the storm and a “sluggish economy,” according to a report from SJTA Acting Executive Director Samuel Donelson issued Wednesday morning, Jan. 23.

According to Donelson’s report, the SJTA collected $77.6 million in revenue from the Atlantic City Expressway, and $7.7 million from parking revenue, $6.8 million of which was collected at Atlantic City International Airport. The airport had 1.4 million passengers last year, an increase of 1.1 percent in 2011. Spirit Airlines saw an increase of 11.5 percent in passengers from 2011 to 2012.

Sandy hit the Mid-Atlantic region, and Atlantic City directly, in October. While posing a negative number on the area for the later portion of the year, including a 5.2 percent decreae in Atlantic City Expressway revenue in December, revenue was up altogether for the entire year.

According to Donelson, Atlantic City Expressway revenue for the year was up about 1 percent for all of 2012, while parking revenue was up 2 percent from 2011.

In December of 2012, 68.2 percent of toll transactions took place via EZ Pass. In all, EZ Pass accounted for 67 percent of all toll collections for the year.

Fitch Ratings affirmed the SJTA’s BBB+ rating on transportation revenue bonds and BBB- rating on the subordinated transportation system. It also issued a stable rating outlook.

“This is very good news, especially in light of the lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy and the recovering economy,” Donelson said.

Donelson said the SJTA is moving forward with a project that would widen the Atlantic City Expressway going westbound by adding a third lane following Interchange 7 at the Garden State Parkway and stretching to Interchange 31 at Route 73. The project covers 24.1 miles, or halfway the total length of the Expressway.

The project is being completed in four phases, and phase 3, which covers milepost 25 to 31.8, began in December. It is expected to be complete by May of 2014, and is part of $4 million worth of capital expenditures for last month, providing for a total of over 500 jobs.

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