Funds for ferry forwarded

Legislation designed to keep New Orleans area ferries operating cleared a House committee Tuesday.

State Rep. Jeff Arnold told the House Appropriations Committee that Senate Bill 215 would resolve ferry funding problems created when voters rejected tolls tied to the Crescent City Connection.

“This is the best scenario we can have going forward,” said Arnold, D-New Orleans.

The state Department of Transportation and Development would contribute up to $4 million a year to the ferries. Another $830,000 per year would be kicked in from truck and trailer registration in Orleans Parish.

Arnold said the ferries are expensive to operate because they are old.

He said more than a million people a year use the ferry that runs between Canal Street and Algiers. He said the Chalmette ferry also is popular.

“It’s nice to see you have a ferry fest,” joked state Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington.

The committee voted, without opposition, to send the legislation to the House chamber.