[StBernard] Bill funding Chalmette ferry is backed by Louisiana House committee

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue May 14 08:31:49 EDT 2013

Bill funding Chalmette ferry is backed by Louisiana House committee


A bill aimed at saving the Chalmette ferry was approved Monday by the House
Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works. It lets the state
partner with a local government to run the service.

Senate Bill 215 by Sen. David Heitmeier, D-New Orleans, would authorize the
Department of Transportation and Development to initiate a partnership with
a political subdivision, such as a local municipality, to continue operating
the ferry between Chalmette and Lower Coast Algiers. The bill also lets the
department dedicate $4 million annually to the ferry service.

"On July 1 in my district, two ferries will cease to exist," Heitmeier said.

The local political entity would be allowed to charge a fee to ride the
ferry, which Heitmeier says provides services for more than 1 million riders
and almost 200,000 vehicles crossing the Mississippi River every year. A
portion of the operating costs would be covered by license plate
registration fees from New Orleans, Heitmeier said.

The ferries' dedicated source of funding, from the Crescent City Connection
tolls, was eliminated last year. At the time, officials said the New Orleans
area's ferry boats were costing $10 million annually.

State transportation officials sought private operators to run the ferries
last summer, but no one responded. An attempt to sell advertising at the
ferry terminals also failed.

New Orleans City Councilwoman Kristin Palmer said in April that unless the
Legislature acts, the funding for the ferries would run out in June.

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