Federal grant to finance a new ferry terminal at the foot of Canal Street _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Passengers disembark from the Mississippi River ferry in Algiers. A new ferry terminal is in the works.

A new terminal for the Canal Street-Algiers Point ferry is in the works, funded by a $10 million grant from the federal government.

Officials have talked about replacing the stark concrete terminal at the foot of Canal Street since Transdev, the firm that manages the Regional Transit Authority, took over the ferry operations last year.

“The ferry system in New Orleans is a treasured institution and strong economic driver for our region,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a news release. “This brand new facility will stimulate economic development for our city along the Mississippi River and ensures this vital transportation resource will continue to serve residents on both banks of the river into the future.”

The new terminal will include streetcar access to the Morial Convention Center, double-dock ferry capacity, pedestrian access to the Riverwalk and bays for RTA buses. The grant will also provide money to expand the bus fleet.

The plan is to complete the project by the city’s 300th anniversary in 2018.

That would tie in with the projected completion date for other projects in the area, including the redevelopment of the former World Trade Center building.

“With the nearly $400 million development of (the WTC) by Four Seasons just next door to the terminal, we are not only creating jobs but also ensuring that the transportation infrastructure is in place to allow more convenient access,” Landrieu said.

While riders may prefer something fancier than the current, no-frills terminal, the main complaint about the ferry has focused on hours and not amenities or connections.

The service has been on a reduced schedule since 2013, when it stopped getting funding from the Crescent City Connection tolls and plans were put forward to privatize the service. The RTA has restored some of those hours in a pilot program that will run through Feb. 14.