Weatherby Construction of Atlantic City will build a new maintenance garage in Pleasantville for the South Jersey Transportation Authority, after its $1.99 million bid was chosen as the lowest responsible bid from five received.
The contract, approved during the SJTA’s Wednesday meeting, is for construction of a new maintenance garage that will include an office area, a mezzanine storage area and five truck service bays.
The project is part of the almost $500 million in improvements funded by a 2020 37% increase in tolls on the Atlantic City Expressway.
Also at the meeting, Executive Director Stephen Dougherty reported that April tolls on the expressway totaled more than $8.6 million, up 6.7% over April 2020, when the state was under COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“The SJTA is looking forward to the upcoming summer season,” Dougherty said. “This warming trend, combined with the easing of COVID restrictions, can only benefit our traffic numbers into the foreseeable future.”
Tolls are going up, up, up on New Jersey’s three major highways.
Dougherty also reported that Atlantic City International Airport saw 63,000 travelers pass through in April, down 5.3% from April 2020.
The projects funded by toll increases are scheduled to be completed in the next 10 years. The garage project was planned as one of the first to be done.
Other projects include widening and repaving the expressway and improving its connection to Atlantic City International Airport.
About $200 million is expected to be spent on planning for a new Glassboro-to-Camden light rail line.
The authority publicly advertised for bids for the Atlantic City Expressway East Maintenance Garage Project on March 31 and April 1, according to the resolution to award the contract.
When explaining their reasons for proposing a 37% toll increase on the Atlantic City Express…
Toll increases to pay for the projects went into effect in September. It was the first toll increase on the expressway since 2008.
The Egg Harbor Plaza toll increased to $4.25 from $3 each way, and 75-cent tolls at Pleasantville and elsewhere increased to $1.25.
The agency has said it expects to raise $26 million a year from the toll increase.
At public hearings last year before the vote to increase the tolls, members of the public and South Jersey lawmakers expressed strong opposition to increasing tolls during the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit the Atlantic City gaming and tourism industries particularly hard.
ATLANTIC CITY — A parking garage in the city's Orange Loop commercial district will soon be …
But construction union members and most SJTA board members supported the move, saying spending on improvement projects would help the region recover.
Board member James “Sonny” McCullough, the former longtime mayor of Egg Harbor Township, was the only commissioner to vote against the increase.
Toll increases also went into effect last year on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike, after the New Jersey Turnpike Authority also voted to increase tolls for its planned improvement projects.
That authority’s 27% toll increase on the parkway and 37% increase on the turnpike will fund a $24 billion capital improvement plan, including $16 billion for widening of both its highways.
REPORTER: Michelle Brunetti Post