LA Swift ceases operations

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) recently announced that LA Swift, a temporary Hurricane Katrina recovery program, will cease operations on July 31.

This was a previously 100% federally funded program. Continuing this localized service past July 31 would now require approximately $750,000 per year in local funds to match a federal fund contribution. At this time, eligible local funding has not been identified to continue operating the service.

The service was scheduled to end June 30, but was extended through the use of under-run federal funds from the LA Swift program.

The program created in response to the hurricane, was a temporary option for affected citizens to travel between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. It began on Oct. 31, 2005, and was previously run with a combination of funding through a Federal Transit Association (FTA) grant and a $5 passenger charge per one-way trip.

While an increase in fares would offset the operating cost, FTA regulations do not allow those revenues to be applied toward the required local match; consequently, regardless of any reasonable fare increase, local funds would still be required for the match.