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Analyst Concerned about Atlantic City Expressway

A Wall Street analyst warns the Atlantic City Expressway might have to raise tolls if traffic volume continues to decline.

Atlantic City Expressway
Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ

Fitch Ratings says the South Jersey Transportation Authority might need to boost tolls by 10 to 15 percent to maintain current debt-coverage ratio on its bonds.

The Press of Atlantic City reports authority deputy executive director Sharon Gordon declined comment on the predictions because the agency was not involved with creating the report. Analyst Raymond Wu, however, says agency officials told him told increases are not being planned at this time

Chad Lewis, another analyst who contributed to the report, tells the newspaper that toll increases are just one option the SJTA has but did not elaborate. He warns that increases could be unavoidable if traffic levels continue to decrease and operating expenses increase.

Fitch says severe weather led to a 5 percent decline in expressway traffic during the first two months of 2014. Expressway traffic fell nearly 2 percent in 2013 and toll revenue has declined every year since peaking in 2009.

Fitch blames the traffic decline on the economic downturn, gambling competition in nearby states and Superstorm Sandy.

MORE COVERAGE:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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