Unless Louisiana lawmakers say otherwise, Crescent City Connection (CCC) tolls are set to expire at the end of this year, which could mean funding aimed for roads and dozens of other projects would dry up.
The Task Force on the Crescent City Connection and the Crescent City Connection Advisory Panel (created by a 2011 legislative resolution) released a report in February evaluating the CCC's future — and the future of its ferries — without the tolls. Its members represent business, civic and neighborhood associations and chambers of commerce. The current bridge tolls were imposed in 1989 to retire bonds financing construction of a second span, to help maintain the bridge and to support the ferries.
The task force report, which covers an array of toll-related subjects and generally supports keeping the tolls, has garnered little support from legislators. Last week the Senate Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee approved Senate Bill 599 by Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton. Adley's bill would divert 50 percent of toll fees to a "transportation trust fund" and transfer CCC Division authority to the Department of Transportation, which has an option to privatize ferry service. Despite thousands of signatures on petitions opposing that idea, the committee voted to support the bill. — Alex Woodward