We support smart tolls to sustain the operations and maintenance of New Orleans' regional Mississippi River crossings. The Crescent City Connection bridges and ferries are critical to our region’s health, economic vitality and mobility. If the tolls are not reauthorized, the impacts will be drastic and will range from:
• Deferred maintenance leading to more costly repairs;
• Dangerous reductions in policing leading to slow accident response time and traffic delays. Only two state troopers would be assigned to the bridge and only during peak hours versus 29 police today;
• Significant financial costs shifted to the cities of New Orleans and Gretna to provide local police to fill the gap of inadequate State Trooper coverage in addition to an annual $800,000 lighting and landscaping bill that the State will not pay;
• Privatized ferries with no guarantee of continued service putting into jeopardy our only direct regional pedestrian and bicycle river crossing;
• Increased traffic caused by reduced response times to accidents. Additionally DOTD will reduce Westbank Expressway lanes and close on-ramps to facilitate merging traffic onto the Crescent City Connection (the toll booths currently serve to merge twelve lanes of traffic to four); to
• Loss of revenue to the region – all excess toll funds (amounting to approximately $20 million) that would currently be used for regional bridge, ferry and roadway improvements would be surrendered to the State with no guarantee of reinvestment in the New Orleans area.
That’s why we are asking Louisiana State Senators and Representatives to champion reauthorization of the Crescent City Connection toll during the current legislative session.