Dec. 14—New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell threw a lifeline Thursday to the Canal Street-Algiers Point ferry service, vowing to find $3 million to avoid cuts in 2024.
Citing budget constraints, the Regional Transit Authority had said it would reduce operating hours to 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. beginning Jan. 14. But Cantrell sent the agency a letter stating her intention to come up with enough money to maintain the current schedule: 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
"We recognize the pivotal role transportation plays in the lives of our residents," Cantrell said. "RTA is a vital part of New Orleans' infrastructure, with tens of thousands of our residents relying on it to get around efficiently and effectively.
"This funding commitment to our transit agency marks a significant stride toward maintaining connectivity and overall improving quality of life for our community."
Since tolls were removed from the Crescent City Connection in 2013, Cantrell's administration said, ferry service has been "grossly underfunded." COVID-19 recovery money from Congress helped bridge the gap, but it has dried up.
The new agreement between the Cantrell administration and the RTA calls for identifying a source for $3 million "within a reasonable time" to maintain current service levels next year. And the two parties are working to identify long-term funding, beyond 2024, City Hall said.
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