A second federal grant to the Regional Transit Authority will provide a funding boost to plans for a new ferry terminal at the foot of Canal Street, city officials announced Friday.
The $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation comes on top of a previous $10 million grant from the agency.
“This project will not only enhance the passenger experience but will also beautify and improve the functionality of the New Orleans riverfront,” said Justin Augustine, vice president of Transdev, the company that manages RTA’s operations. “Transdev in conjunction with the city, state and RTA will continue to strive for improved multimodal transit amenities in the greater New Orleans area.”
RTA officials have been talking about building a new terminal for the Canal Street-Algiers Point ferry line since shortly after the system took over operation of the city’s ferries in 2014.
The grant announced Friday “completes the funding for the project,” RTA board Chairman Salvador Longoria said, and officials said the project is on track for completion by 2018, the city’s tricentennial.
The plan calls for replacing the current terminal with a 10,000-square-foot, energy-efficient building that will include bus bays and be tied into the rest of the riverfront by streetcar access to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and other attractions.
“Redevelopment of the current Canal Street ferry terminal into an efficient multimodal transportation center is a top priority,” said Cedric Grant, who is in charge of infrastructure projects for Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “Because of the central location of the ferry terminal, it has the unique ability to provide critical public transportation to our 483,000 residents as well as our 9 million annual tourists.”
In addition, Grant said, the new terminal “will allow us to redesign our riverfront so that there is a seamless transition from the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk to Woldenberg Park.” The terminal is between those two sites.
The ferry terminal, along with planned redevelopment of the adjacent World Trade Center building and the North Terminal project at Louis Armstrong International Airport, also presents opportunities for economic development, City Councilman Jared Brossett said.
“Every day, we are seeing new developments that are creating a safer and more convenient transportation infrastructure for residents and tourists alike,” Brossett said. “What gets me excited — and what should get all New Orleanians excited — is the opportunities that will come from this project and the $650 million North Terminal project.”
As chairman of the council’s Transportation and Airport Committee, Brossett said, “I commit to continue to work with all stakeholders and interested parties every step of the way to take advantage of the significant transportation opportunities before us.”
Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.