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Statement by the Board of Commissioners of the Regional Transit Authority

Statement by the Board of Commissioners of the Regional Transit Authority

This statement is to clarify the Regional Transit Authority's position on ferry service on the Mississippi River.

Our mission, first and foremost, is to provide bus, streetcar, and paratransit services to the citizens of the City of New Orleans, and bus service to the City of Kenner.  Until the recently concluded 2013 session of the Louisiana Legislature, the RTA was, in fact, prohibited from being involved with ferry service on the Mississippi River and elsewhere.  Ferry service has been historically a responsibility of the state.  The state had determined, even if the tolls on the Crescent City Connection would have been approved in the recent election, changes to the ferry operation were needed.  The CCC and the tolls would no longer subsidize the ferries.  Using funds provided by the Legislature, the DOTD will, after July 1, 2013, continue to provide ferry service at Canal Street on a reduced basis and on the existing schedule at Chalmette, both services being operated with the existing fare structure.

As we understand, the private contractor that provides services to the RTA, Veolia Transportation Services, Inc., has been in discussions with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development on providing ferry service on the River in place of DOTD. Of course, in the interest of the ferry users who are from the entire metropolitian area, the RTA hopes that the ferry service will be continued. But to put it simply, ferry service is not part of the RTA's primary mission. In spite of the fact that ferry service is outside the RTA's mission as well as its funding capability, we would support an agreement between the RTA, Veolia and the state to continue the ferry service on some basis that would not jeopardize current and future bus, streetcar, and paratransit services in New Orleans and bus services in Kenner.

RTA will continue discussions with the state and Veolia with the goal of continuing ferry service on the Mississippi River.

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