History & Milestones
July 31, 1964: In noontime ceremonies presided over by state Sen. Frank S. “Hap” Farley, the legislator who made it happen, the Atlantic City Expressway opens between its western terminus in Camden County and the Garden State Parkway in Pleasantville. Construction had begun a year earlier and was completed a year ahead of schedule.
The service station at what became the Farley Service Center opens for business.
December 1964: The New Jersey Expressway Authority collected $741,668 in tolls during its first five months of operations (including $7,457 collected July 31st).
1965: The Expressway link to Atlantic City is completed. Toll collections rise to $2,283,966. The cost of building the Expressway is calculated to be $48,273,990.
Oct. 1, 1965: A cafeteria-style restaurant, the Holiday House at Elwood, opens at the Service Center.
June 22, 1966: The Farmers Market comes to the Service Center in temporary quarters. An Expressway beautification program is undertaken.
The first rise in tolls takes effect -- the Egg Harbor toll for passenger vehicles goes from 75 cents to $1. The Pleasantville remains 15 cents. Toll collections come to $3,268,444, nearly two thirds of that total was realized in the four summer-season months, June through September.
1967: The Authority installs state-of-the-art call boxes for motorists in need of help along the full length of the Expressway. The beautification program begins with landscaping selected sections of the highway. Planting in the median also serves safety by protecting drivers from headlight glare of oncoming vehicles.
Toll collection reaches $3,616,908.
May 1968: Harness racing comes to the Atlantic City Race Course, increasing revenues at the new Interchange 12.
November 1968: A major nor’easter closes the White Horse and Black Horse Pikes near Atlantic City, but the Expressway stays open largely due to its construction three feet higher than the older highways, nine feet above mean high tide.
Annual toll collections top $4 million for the first time.
1969: The Farm Market opens at the Service Center.
1970: The Expressway’s impact on growth was demonstrated by the 9,000-unit development planned by Levitt & Sons near Exit 38 in Winslow Township, Camden County. South Jersey Gas Co. built its corporate headquarters in Folsom, Atlantic County, and McGregor-Werner Graphics opened a plant in Woodbine, Cape May County.
1973: Despite the “oil shock,” toll collection crosses the $5 million mark for the first time at $5,394,473 a 10.3-percent increase from 1972. Not surprisingly toll revenues shrank the next year to $4,665,643.
1976: The fuel crisis having abated, traffic volume rose 10.7 percent. Toll revenues also rebounded at $5,436,684 up from $4,902,620 in 1975.
April 12, 1977: The Service Center is dedicated as the Frank S. Farley Plaza.
Traffic volume rises 11.1 percent, and toll collection crosses the $6-million mark.
1978: The arrival of casino gaming gives the Atlantic City Expressway a greatly enhanced mission. Traffic volume rises sharply in the seven months since the first casino, Resorts, opened up 21 percent at Egg Harbor Toll Plaza and 49 percent at Pleasantville. Toll collection reflected the change up 20 percent to $7,240,020!
1979: With Atlantic City’s hotels making way for the advent of the casinos, the nature of the Atlantic City Expressway changed, too. As traffic volume soared, toll collections reached $8,576,921, up 18.5 percent and its largest dollar increase yet. Because of the second oil shock, gasoline had to be rationed at the Farley Plaza to $3 a customer later raised to $5 to keep up with rising prices.
1980: With usage rising exponentially, the Authority completed paving 77 lane-miles of the Expressway’s inside shoulder. Gas rationing at Farley Plaza is lifted. The crisis did not discourage drivers, as once again traffic volume set a record at 29.9 percent growth! The new motorists were not all gamblers. Some were employees at the casinos, making the trip every working day. Toll collections hit an astonishing $11,126,831.
Autumn 1982: Work begins to expand and renovate Holiday House at Farley Plaza to meet contemporary tastes, transforming it from a cafeteria into a fast-food restaurant.
1985: The New Jersey Expressway Authority contributes $3,750,000 to the newly established Transportation Trust Fund, as did the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway authorities.
July 31, 1989: The Expressway celebrates its 25th anniversary at the Egg Harbor Toll Plaza. During the boom years of 1985-88, a third eastbound lane was constructed starting at the Route 73 entrance through the Pleasantville Toll Plaza, which was expanded from eight to 12 lanes. Egg Harbor was widened to 13 lanes. Looking ahead, the Authority planned approaches to the proposed Atlantic City Convention Center and a new interchange to serve the burgeoning suburbs around Berlin-Cross Keys Road in Camden County.
By 1989, traffic volume was nearly 44 million, more than seven times the 6 million vehicles that rode the Expressway 25 years before. Toll collections had doubled since 1980, hitting $22,977,015.
June 1991: The Legislature creates the South Jersey Transportation Authority, serving six counties Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem. It is a successor to the New Jersey Expressway Authority and Atlantic County Transportation Authority. The new body will assume operational responsibilities for the Atlantic City Expressway, Atlantic City International Airport terminal and parking facilities in Atlantic City in 1992.
1992: The new authority gets its financial house in order with a new bond issue. Toll revenues exceed $24 million.
1994: The Authority begins a project to nearly double the size of the terminal at Atlantic City International Airport by erecting a second story. It is part of a long-range, demand-driven master plan. A new 9,000-square-foot State Police barracks, complete with auto maintenance shop, opens at the Farley Service Plaza. The electronic toll collection system now known as E-ZPass wins federal funding, and the Authority’s administration joins the computer age for payroll and financial record-keeping.
1995: For the first time, an entire year passed without a single traffic fatality on the Expressway. ACY was host to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s convention, during which an Air France supersonic Concorde landed and took off for two charity flights plus a Mach II demonstration flight over the ocean. Midlantic Jet Aviation, Inc., begins operations at ACY and announces plans to build a $2-million maintenance shop.
Sept. 27, 1995: The bridge connecting the Expressway with Atlantic City streets is named for Dr. Joseph L. McGahn, a state senator and Absecon civic leader. Meanwhile, the bridge is expanded to five lanes.
April 1, 1996: With the expiration of a management use and occupancy agreement struck by the City of Atlantic City, the South Jersey Transportation Authority assumes full management control of Atlantic City International Airport.
May 7, 1996: Gov. Christine Todd Whitman cuts the ceremonial ribbon to open the expanded ACY terminal, which grew from 45,000 to 78,000 square feet under roof and from three gates to seven, three of them elevated boarding bridges.
Sept. 17, 1996: A Deloitte & Touche management audit recommends consolidating Operations, Planning & Development, and Marketing into two departments Expressway and Tourist Services. The Authority carries out the suggestion.
Nov. 13, 1996: Raytheon Aircraft Services signs a 25-year lease to build a $5.9-million, 50,000-square-foot facility, where it will house and maintain business aircraft.
1997: Design and legal groundwork is laid for the $330-million Atlantic City-Brigantine Connector, which also promotes $1-billion growth in the city’s Marina District. Work continues on preparing for E-ZPass with several trial runs of the electronic toll collection system. Toll revenue tops $25 million.
July 14, 1997: Ground is broken for the Raytheon Aircraft Services facility.
March 10, 1998: The New Jersey Turnpike Authority, leading a consortium that includes the SJTA, signs an agreement with a contractor for delivery of an electronic toll collection system.
Nov. 4, 1998: Groundbreaking signals the end of three years of spadework and the start of real earth-turning for the 2.3-mile-long Atlantic City-Brigantine Connector. Its immediate payoff in the Marina District has almost doubled to $2 billion.
Nov. 11, 1998: The first E-ZPass customers are recorded on the Expressway toll-collection system, the first to go operational in New Jersey. A tag-holder from any E-ZPass system can pay a toll at any booth with an E-ZPass sign. By the end of the sixth week, E-ZPass accounts for 23.1 percent of the tolls collected at the Pleasantville Plaza.
Nov. 30, 1998: The South Jersey Transportation Authority collects its first $2 toll at the Egg Harbor Plaza. For the first time since 1969, the Authority has had to raise tolls on the Atlantic City Expressway. The proceeds will fund a $60-million capital improvements plan. Toll revenues top $27.4 million.
1998: A banner year at Atlantic City International Airport. For the first time, passenger traffic topped 1 million, up more than 15 percent year-over-year. The South Jersey Transportation Authority assumes full responsibility for airfield operations from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Sept. 29, 1999: With Gov. Whitman presiding, ground is broken for the Cross Keys Interchange. Serving Gloucester and Winslow townships in Camden County and Washington Township in Gloucester County, it will be the first all-new interchange since the Expressway was completed in 1965.
1999: The first year under the new tolls regimen produces revenues of $44,434,942.
E-ZPass usage grows to 28 percent of all transactions.
July 31, 2001: The Atlantic City-Brigantine Connector opens to traffic after a ceremony presided over by acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco.
Sept. 11, 2001: The impact on Atlantic City International Airport was immediate, as elsewhere, but the Authority developed a campaign to restore confidence in the traveling public that lessened the long-term effects. Visible security measures were taken immediately. ACY was among the first airports in the nation to reopen under the heightened security regimen. Meanwhile, the Authority completed its $12.5-million airport investment -- runway repaving, centerline lights and two Precision Approach Path Indicators, plus a cable arrester system for the Air National Guard.
Vehicular traffic picked up, as vacationers preferred to stick closer to home. Toll revenue reflected a three-month surge, reaching $45,853,899, up 3.5 percent from the year before.
Oct. 1, 2002: Delta Comair begins service between ACY and its Cincinnati hub, from which connections can be made to 115 destinations around the world. In its 11th year at ACY, Spirit Airlines expanded its schedule to include flights to Detroit, Denver, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Aug. 1, 2002: The Transportation Security Administration assumes responsibility for airport passenger screening. Other security enhancements include three miles of 10-foot fencing and closed circuit video cameras at remote-controlled gates to be controlled at the Operations Center.
2002: Visit trips to Atlantic City via the Expressway grow 5 percent to 24.68 million. The Authority opens its 350-space parking lot on Mississippi Avenue, bringing total spaces under SJTA management to 1,875. Toll revenue jumps to $48,532,827.
April 15, 2003: A Memorial Park, a circular garden at the Farley Travel Plaza, is dedicated to State Police and SJTA personnel who have lost their lives in the performance of their duties.
May 2003: HMS Host completes a $5-million, 15,000-square-foot building at Farley to house fast-food restaurants, a gift shop and a visitors’ center.
October 2003: The Huron Avenue ramp is completed, opening access from the Connector to the Trump Marina Casino Hotel and the Borgata Casino and Spa. The Trump Organization paid half the costs.
2003: The Airport adds two new loading bridges at Gates 2 and 5. In November, the SJTA exercises its contractual option to assume control of airport parking and plans to build a parking garage. Passenger traffic rises on scheduled airlines by 17.2 percent year over year. Total count tops 1 million, the second largest number in ACY history.
Jan. 1, 2004: The Authority opens its Transportation Services Division, which provides shuttle transportation to work. It also assumes direct responsibility for operating the New York Avenue parking garage in Atlantic City.
May 6, 2004: The first vehicle uses Express E-ZPass at the Pleasantville toll plaza, driving through the barrier-free lane at 45 mph. On the same day, the widening of the Expressway approach to Atlantic City was completed three lanes each way between the Pleasantville plaza and Interchange 1.
July 2004: SJTA celebrates the 40th Year Anniversary of the Atlantic City Expressway. October 2004:
Construction work begins on Taxiway “P”, a second route for aircraft between the runway and the terminal
at Atlantic City International Airport. It is a necessary step for the airport development plan.
October 2004: Grading begins for a new parking lot, designed for nearly 1,000 long-term spaces plus
2004: The year ends with more statistical evidence of strong growth in the region, and especially in
Atlantic City. The city attracted 33,230,000 visits/trips, while the casinos recorded an average
“win” per visit/trip reached $144.65, roughly 80 percent of the same measurement in Las Vegas.
Atlantic City International Airport, meanwhile, drew 1.03 million travelers, topping one million for
the second straight year. SJTA revenues jumped to $78.8 million. Tolls accounted for 72.7 percent of
the total, a record low and continuing the SJTA’s trend toward finding other revenue streams.
March 2005: The SJTA and its airport parking contractor settle year-long litigation with termination of
the lease, remuneration to the contractor and the Authority’s taking over. The agreement removes an
obstacle to a long-planned parking garage.
April 1, 2005: SJTA parking lot operation begins at ACY with an expanded shuttle service to and from
April 12, 2005: The Atlantic City Expressway is closed overnight while a crane installs a massive overhead
walkway at the Pleasantville toll plaza. It enables toll collectors to cross the Express E-ZPass lanes safely, as
well as automates the movement of cash. The tricky maneuver goes off without a hitch.
May 4, 2005: The Authority takes part in the initial First Wednesday, a promotion designed to attract visitors
to Atlantic City’s non-gaming retail and entertainment sites. The SJTA offers discounted parking and
connections via “The Breeze,” its Atlantic City shuttle.
Aug. 11, 2005: Funded by a state grant, SJTA’s Transportation Services Division begins service to
transport veterans in Camden and Gloucester counties to VA facilities and other medical providers.
Sept. 12, 2005: SJTA’s Transportation Services Division begins TransIT Link, a shuttle to work sites
between the Pleasantville bus terminal and Atlantic City International Airport.
Oct. 18, 2005: SJTA Commissioners shovel a ceremonial mound of soil at Atlantic City International
Airport to inaugurate a project to house state-of-the art baggage screening equipment and to improve
passenger movement and security inside the terminal.
Nov. 10, 2005: The redesigned SJTA website goes online to the public.
October 17, 2006: SJTA Board of Commissioners and local officials used their golden shovels to break
ground on a $24.5 million, six-story parking garage to be constructed just steps from the ACY terminal
July 2007: Final design completed for Exit 17 Began environmental permitting and design for
Atlantic City Expressway widening project westbound from milepost 8.0 to milepost 31.0
August 2007: Began All Electronic Tolling (AET) Study. Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) completes
10,000 square foot major security baggage screening facility. ACY receives $5 million in federal funding to expand apron.
October 2007: SJTA breaks ground on new ACY parking garage ACY reports historic scheduled passenger
growth ending the year with 34 percent increase over previous years. SJTA adopts “Core Values” Authority-wide operating principles.
May 7, 2008: The Samuel Adams Brew Pub marks its Grand Opening on the second floor of the terminal
June 2008: SJTA opens the $26.3 million, six-story ACY parking garage.
June 2008: $2.5 million terminal renovations begin at ACY.
July 2008: U.S. Dept. Homeland Security and SJTA sign unique Cooperative Research and Development
Agreement to establish a test bed for emerging security technologies at ACY.
September 2008: The SJTA is awarded $682,520 in state homeland security funds to enhance radio interoperability communications in six South Jersey counties. The SJTA/ACY is awarded the Distinguished
Achievement Award from the Southern New Jersey Development Council for its significant contributions
to the Economical Development of the South Jersey Region.
November 2008: SJTA begins construction of Atlantic City Expressway Interchange 17 to connect
ACE to Route 50 in Hamilton Township.
December 2008: Spirit Airlines announces direct service to Boston from ACY. A group of casinos, economic development officials and government leaders form a coalition to attract new airline carriers and increased service at ACY.
March 2009: AirTran Airway becomes newest transportation choice for ACY.
April 2009: A groundbreaking ceremony is held for Berlin-Cross Keys Bridge Widening project.
June 2009: ACY celebrates AirTran Airways' inaugural flight with a festive party in the terminal. Musical
artists Earth, Wind & Fire gave a performance for fans.
August 2009: ACY hosts 2009 "Thunder Over the Boardwalk" Air Show with more than 750,000 fans
October 2009: The NextGen Aviation Research and Technology Park groundbreaking takes place at
Atlantic City International Airport.
October 2009: Westjet launches Toronto service from ACY, connecting travelers to Canadian cities.
October 2009: ACE Westbound Third Lane Widening groundbreaking ceremony takes place at the Visitor
November 2009: The Federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that ACY has the
nation's least expensive airline tickets in the nation.
December 2009: SJTA celebrates completion of the Berlin-Cross Keys Bridge Widening Project, which is completed ahead of schedule.
March 2010: Spirit Airlines executives announce seasonal service between Detroit and Atlantic City to begin in May.
April 2010: ACY Air Service Expansion Coalition is awarded a 2010 Governor's Tourism Award for Excellence. The coalition was instrumental in attracting two new airlines and three new air service routes to ACY.
April 2010: The Authority transforms the Expressway's railroad trestle bridge from an eyesore to a freshly painted structure.
May 2010: The Authority actively participates in a number of training exercises to enhance its emergency response capabilities including the Expressway Tunnel Drill and ACY Fire Department's Tri-Annual Full Scale Airport Emergency Preparedness Drill.
June 2010: A ribbon cutting ceremony is held on June 18 for the opening of Interchange 17, providing convenient access between the Expressway and Route 50.
July 2010: Following direct efforts of the Authority, The Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airline Executives commits to hold their annual conference in Atlantic City in August 2011.
August 2010: ACY plays a major role as the host Airport for the 8th Annual Thunder Over the Boardwalk Airshow on August 25.
October 2010: Full operation of new flat screen monitors are installed in the ACY terminal as part of the Multi-Use Flight Information Display project.
November 2010: Restaurant/Bookstore combination Euro Cafe officially opens to travelers on the second floor of the Airport Terminal. The opening is celebrated with a ribbon cutting event.
December 2010: The Authority holds a groundbreaking ceremony on December 7 for a $25 million Federal Inspection Station and terminal expansion at ACY. The 75,000 square foot expansion allows for aggressive pursuit of international carriers and a wider array of air service routes.
February 2011: To make way for Express E-ZPass lanes, two toll booths in each direction at the Egg Harbor Toll Plaza at Exit 17 are demolished to make way for an equal number of dedicated express lanes.
The Authority receives the American Council of Engineering Companies' engineering excellence award in February for its energy audit. The Authority's plan mixes energy conservation measures and renewable energy development.
March 2011: ACY welcomes Spirit Airlines' new Chicago service with a water cannon salute of its inaugural flight.
May 2011: ACY releases the results of an economic impact study conducted by the Center for Regional and Business Research at Atlantic Cape Community College. The study reported a 37 percent increase in overall economic activity generated by the airport from 2007 to 2010, adding more than 850 jobs to the region.
Express E-ZPass lanes at the Egg Harbor Toll Plaza officially open to the public.
August 2011: The Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) holds its 53rd Annual Conference in Atlantic City, where SJTA and ACY play an integral role in hosting the event.
ACY is host airport for the 9th Annual "Thunder Over the Boardwalk" Airshow in Atlantic City, where an estimated 800,000 spectators were present to witness one of the most popular events in the city.
September 2011: The SJTA receives the Southern NJ Business People's Economic Impact Award which honors the Authority for keeping visitors flowing to Atlantic City by way of the Atlantic City Expressway and Atlantic City International Airport.
October 28, 2011: The SJTA breaks ground on a new Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Station at Atlantic City International Airport. The facility will meet the demands and space requirements for a state-of-the-art rescue and firefighting facility and is expected to be completed in May 2013.
ACY officially opens a new "Cell Phone Lot" which provides safe access for motorists who are picking up arriving passengers at the airport and reduces congestion around the terminal.
December 2011: Grace Hanlon, Executive Director of the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, visits Atlantic City International Airport, where SJTA officials host a guided tour and present key information about the $25 million terminal expansion and other key developments for the region.