Monday, June 11, 2012
As the 2012 legislative session came to an end last week, President Robottom received a verbal commitment to continue services of the Reserve-Edgard Ferry for at least one more year. The extension was the result of a coordinated effort by President Robottom, the Parish Council and residents who waged a letter writing and phone calling campaign to their Senators, Representatives, the Department of Transportation & Development (DOTD) and the Governor's Office.
The extension begins on July 1, 2012 and will last through June 30, 2013. Funding for the ferry is included in DOTD's budget through December 31, 2012 and is based on the existing fare of $1.00 on the east bank. However, a budget adjustment is necessary to extend those services through June. Talks between local and state officials should begin within the next few weeks as they work to find a long-term solution to the funding shortfall for ferry services.
President Robottom said, "I'm very excited about the extension and want to thank our delegation, the council, and all of our residents for helping to get it done. Our work is not done and we will continue meeting with our Senators and Representatives in the upcoming weeks to resolve this problem for good. We are willing to compromise and DOTD has committed to working with us to continue ferry services."
State Senators Troy Brown and Gary Smith, Jr. both confirmed commitments from the Governor's Office that ferry services would continue. Senator Brown said, "The funding gap is small and if we can formulate an effective strategy with local leaders, continued funding of the ferry could be something the state would be willing to swallow." Options under consideration for reducing the funding gap include the parish assuming control of smaller roads currently under state control and increasing the fare to include travel from both sides of the Mississippi River.