A Message from RTA CEO Lona Edwards Hankins
- December 27th, 2023
To Our Valued Riders,
I want to take a moment as we near the end of 2023, my first as RTA’s Chief Executive Officer, to express my deepest gratitude for your continued support and use of our transit services. The year ahead brings an opportunity for reflection about our achievements, driven largely by our dedicated team of public servants. And it’s also an opportunity to look forward with excitement to the possibilities ahead in 2024 and beyond as we fulfill our mission to provide world-class transit service.
So much of our work centered around securing critical funding that is leading to major improvements in our infrastructure in the form of new capital projects and new vehicles. We saw this with the reopening of the $43.5 million Canal Street Ferry Terminal. The project was made possible with several public funding sources, including $24.3 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), $5.9 million from the City of New Orleans, $2 million from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, and $6.5 million from the RTA. We also secured $24.8 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Downtown Transit Center. The community outreach and design for this Center will begin in 2024.
Through our collaborative efforts with local and state partners, we were able to begin closing the funding gap to maintain service levels on the Canal Street-Algiers Point Ferry – $10 million of which came from working with the New Orleans delegation led by Senators Gary Carter and Jimmy Harris during the 2023 legislative session, and the final $3 million committed by City of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. I’m also proud to note that thanks to our partnership with U.S. Rep. Troy Carter, RTA was awarded $5.2 million in federal grants for the Algiers Ferry Terminal and maintenance facilities.
We also secured $71.4 million in federal grants to help provide energy-efficient buses. The grants, administered by the FTA via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, passed through Congress, shepherded by U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and U.S. Rep. Troy Carter. Finally, RTA’s Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of 29 new buses that will begin to arrive in fall 2024.
Amid all this hard work, we took the time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Perley A. Thomas streetcar. This momentous occasion of the historic streetcar and its continued service on the St. Charles line served as an opportunity to engage with the community at our Carrollton Streetcar Barn. It also shined a light on our remarkable shop workers, many of whom have been committed to preserving our streetcar service for decades.
The successes this year will pave the way for a thriving 2024. Our Winter 2024 Service Change, set to begin Jan. 14, will prioritize our bus fleet maintenance, allowing our agency to improve service reliability as we prepare for the arrival of new buses next fall. We’re also looking forward to the construction of the much-needed Downtown Transit Center, the reopening of our Rampart-St. Claude streetcar line, the installation of nearly 20 new bus shelters across the city, and continued progress to implement a vital Bus Rapid Transit system that will provide rail-like bus service at much lower costs.
You, our riders, are just as integral to this work as the work itself. So thank you!
In closing, I want to encourage you to stay connected with RTA – whether by attending our meetings, following us on social media, visiting our website at norta.com, or purchasing passes and tracking routes through our Le Pass app. Your voice will continue to inform our path toward providing the world-class transit service that this community deserves.
Lona Edward Hankins
CEO, Regional Transit Authority