Two months have passed since the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey first publicly announced interest in Atlantic City International Airport, but it remains unclear what the authority’s time line is in future decisions on the operation.
The Port Authority’s potential involvement in the airport had been speculated about for years when its board voted on Sept. 20 to spend as much as $3 million on a feasibility study that would dissect the legal, environmental and financial impacts of taking over the airport located in Egg Harbor Township.
Using a competitive solicitation list of potential vendors, the authority received one proposal for the study on Nov. 7. That proposal is being evaluated, said Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico, who did not address questions about the authority’s time line for moving forward.
Marsico also did not respond to questions posed regarding the name of the firm that has submitted a proposal. The Press of Atlantic City has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the proposal and a description of the authority’s solicitation.
Port Authority officials have said taking over Atlantic City’s airport could provide an opportunity to boost South Jersey’s traffic while easing congestion at Kennedy, LaGuardia, Teterboro and Newark Liberty airports, all under Port Authority control. Those airports saw a combined 106 million passengers last year compared with Atlantic City’s 2010 peak of 1.4 million passengers.
Under similar circumstances, the Port Authority took over Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, N.Y., in 2007, but that operation has seen less than stellar results as traffic has fallen almost 55 percent since the authority’s involvement.
The Port Authority completed a study before Stewart’s takeover, but its nature was different than the analysis proposed in Atlantic City. A Regional Air Demand Study in 2007 found “there were millions of potential customers who resided close enough to feasibly use the airport,” Marsico said.
The South Jersey Transportation Authority, which operates Atlantic City International and the Atlantic City Expressway, has not had contact with the Port Authority since the feasibility study was announced, officials said.
Marsico did not respond to questions regarding the Port Authority’s contact to date with SJTA or any future plans for contact coinciding with the planned study.
SJTA plans to unveil at $25 million expansion at the airport today. The project increased the number of gates from seven to 10 and expanded the baggage-claim area. The airport will also now be equipped to handle scheduled international flights.
Contact Jennifer Bogdan:
Follow @ACPressJennifer on Twitter