City Council: Algiers-Canal Street ferry must stay in service - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

City Council says Algiers-Canal Street ferry must stay in service

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New Orleans, La. — City Council members said Thursday that there is no way the city can stand to lose the Algiers-Canal Street ferry.

Their comments come as money to keep the ferry at its current level of service dwindles.  And passengers are concerned, as well.

"I think they should keep the ferry running, I've been catching the ferry since I was little, it's one of my main types of transportation," said Kim Richards, who was riding from the west bank to the east bank of New Orleans on the ferry.

Recently, voters approved a 20-year extension of the tolls on the Crescent City Connection Bridge.  Some of those funds are currently used to help pay for operating expenses.  But come July, the start of the new budget year for state government, the ferry will no longer get revenues from the bridge tolls. 

"The legislation actually speaks to the toll monies not being used for ferry operations at the Algiers-Canal Street crossing.  That is the will of the legislature and we're trying to work through that issue," said Michael Stack, District 2 administrator with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

Without toll revenues, the ferry will receive only about $800,000 a year from truck registration and license fees, according to transportation department officials.

"I'd be sorry if they stopped the ferry because I use it regularly," said Rockie Audrict as he sat inside his truck on the ferry.

During a meeting of the City Council's transportation committee, council members made it clear to Stack that the ferry must continue operating.

"We're talking about the connectivity of people to jobs and that is what economic development is about.  And so we really need to think about a very thoughtful manner in which to approach our transportation and our ferry systems in this region," said Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson-Palmer, who represents districts on both sides of the river.

"New Orleans people understand the importance of the ferries and we're trying to work through this process," Stack stated.

He said he is working with the Regional Planning Commission in hopes of finding a solution.  "We're working the issue and I'm confident that it can be worked through," said Stack.

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