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10/17/2006

SJTA breaks ground on new ACY parking garage

EGG HARBOR TWP. – The South Jersey Transportation Authority kicked off the construction of a 1,400-space parking garage at the Atlantic City International Airport during a ground breaking ceremony in front of the terminal building today.

“This marks yet another new and exciting chapter in the evolution of this growing airport,” said SJTA Chairman Frank Spencer, as he and the other members of the SJTA Board of Commissioners placed ceremonial shovels in excavation dirt along the footprint of the building.

“With the addition of this new and convenient facility just steps from the terminal, we are taking parking to the next level here at ACY,” said outgoing SJTA Executive Director James R. Iannone, who announced his impending retirement at a board meeting just prior to the ground breaking. “I look upon this and the other improvements at the airport as among the Authority’s greatest accomplishments in recent years.”

“Now, one of the most convenient options for local travelers will become that much more attractive,” said incoming Executive Director Bart Mueller.

In July, the board approved a $24.6 million contract with Weatherby Construction & Renovation Corp. of Ventnor for the design and construction of the garage.

SJTA officials expect that the project will take 20 months to complete with the facility available to airport passengers in the spring of 2008. The footprint of the facility is 300 feet wide and 221 feet deep. The facility will be six stories high and will feature a double thread helix construction which provides one-way ingress and egress at the eastern end of the facility.

The South Jersey Transportation Authority assumed direct responsibility for parking operations from a private vendor as of April 1, 2005. During the 18 months, the SJTA has established continuous shuttle service from parking lots to the terminal, hired customer service ambassadors to assist travelers and added 1,000 surface parking spaces.

Still, parking at the airport is stretched during peak travel times and will be further stretched when other airline carriers, attracted by the growth of the Atlantic City and Southern New Jersey market, begin, as expected, to offer flights out of the Atlantic City Airport.

The Atlantic City Airport has experienced a dramatic increase in passengers over the last several years, with about a million passengers moving through the airport annually. SJTA estimates that utilization of the airport could increase by double digits in the next couple of years with the expected addition of new airlines and new airline routes.

In order to accommodate this expected growth, the Authority is in the midst of a major expansion and improvement program. Among the improvements the Authority has made are full instrument guidance on Runways 13 and 31, a new taxiway, improved lighting on the flight ramps, and construction of a new baggage screening and sorting structure to house security equipment for the Transportation Security Administration and give the airlines more space for efficient loading of flights. Included in this project is installation of a second escalator near the baggage claim area, which will improve terminal traffic flow for travelers.

The Authority will install E-ZPass Plus technology in the new garage, affording airport passengers quick and easy access to and from the parking facility.

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