MANDEVILLE, La. -- A groundbreaking in 2011 near Sunset Point was the beginning of a new transportation venture linking the Northshore with the south shore by boat.
The project was called the Pontchartrain Express and would offer a high-speed ferry ride for $30, and then a shuttle to and from various destinations in and around New Orleans. The plan, then, was to lift anchor by Jazz Fest 2011, but today, not a thing from those plans are in place.
"Presently, the project is on hold," said organizer Johan Schild.
The Pontchartrain Express offices in Mandeville closed earlier this year, and the boats are now only a drawing, as the original vessels are no longer available.
Schild said among the several hurdles still facing the ferry, the biggest is the docking area on the Northshore. The land's owner said he can't commit the property for 15 years, as required by the ferry’s financial agreements, without knowing the future of the project.
"We are right now waiting for the owner of the Pre-Stress land to find a suitable developer, and hopefully it’s going to be a commercial development and we can get started," Schild said.
Despite considering turning to Slidell for a new site, project organizers recently visited with Mandeville city leaders about reviving the idea there.
"We identified those agencies that they would need to gain agreement from before we would be able to get permitting, and I think it's their business decision whether or not to continue with the venture," Mayor Donald Villere said.
Project organizers believe there is still a chance to keep the idea afloat and has the support from the public to make it successful.
If you’d like to learn more about the Pontchartrain Express project, click here.