The state Senate on Thursday approved legislation that would help pave the way for a long-anticipated transportation system from Atlantic City International Airport to the resort’s casinos and Tourism District.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. Vince Polistina, R-Atlantic, would ease restraints on how the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority can spend money, Polistina’s office said in a news release.
The Senate voted 36-0, with four members not voting. It remains in committee in the Assembly, where its primary sponsor is Assemblyman Don Guardian, R-Atlantic.
Currently, the CRDA is required to commit all available assets and revenues directly to the Tourism District and community development in Atlantic City. Easing those restrictions would allow the CRDA to divert some funds toward a transportation link that would benefit residents and visitors.
“Visitors from outside the area can easily book a flight to the city, but getting to and from the casinos and Tourism District is another story,” Polistina said. “This bill will authorize the CRDA to work with the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority and other entities to help develop a transportation solution.
A convenient, accessible transportation link from the airport in Egg Harbor Township to the city is something tourists as well as people within the Atlantic City community could benefit from, Polistina said.
“Utilizing the assets and influence of the CRDA to finally move ahead with meaningful transportation advances fits with the authority’s mission,” Polistina said. “The pressing social and economic needs of city residents would be well-served with better options to navigate between important sections of Atlantic City.”
There have been pushes at least since the 1990s to add a train stop in Galloway Township’s Pomona section near the airport, Polistina said in March when his proposed bill moved out of Senate committee.
Last year, the Atlantic City Rail Line Coalition formed to focus on the short- and long-term improvement of access to and service along the Atlantic City Rail Line, which stretches from the resort to Philadelphia.
Also, Galloway Township Council last year adopted a redevelopment plan for the proposed Pomona Commons at Route 30 and Pomona Road by ARK Innovations LLC. The plan includes space for both a train stop and parking for the cars that would use it.
The Rail Line Coalition started in February 2021 with members from the Greater Atlantic City Chamber, the Cooper Levenson law firm, multimedia company Triax 57, the Fox Rothschild law firm, the Atlantic County Department of Regional Planning and the Atlantic County Economic Alliance.
Reliable rail service and increased ridership will lead to additional economic and travel improvements, the coalition has said. Read More from Press of Atlantic City.