MANDEVILLE, La. -- A week from Thursday, the St. Tammany Council could vote on whether or not to support a safety project on the Causeway, which would require higher tolls and debt.
Approval from that body, and the Jefferson Parish Council, are the second hurdle for the plan, which was given the green light by the Causeway Commission last month.
The St. Tammany Council has a resolution on the topic on its Thursday night agenda, which is expected to be discussed extensively, but there's no guarantee for a vote that night.
In the meantime, the community continues sharing its opinion about how that vote should turn out.
This week, the St. Tammany Republican Parish Executive Committee heard the pros and cons of the Causeway Commission's presentation about its proposed safety improvements. Members then had a big decision to make.
"We had two compelling cases, and yet we realized this will affect so many people for such a long time, and is such a large amount of money, that we felt like we really needed to take a position to give a little bit of guidance to the average person out there on what's going on," said RPEC Vice Chairman John Raymond.
After the group debated over the $100 million price tag, method of paying that price through higher tolls and a new debt, along with who would be paying the highest price, they put a stamp of disapproval on the plan.
"Do we want to agree to spend $100 million for these things that they want to do to the bridge to enhance safety above 2.1 times that it already is," asked RPEC Chairman Larry Frieman.
Though the GOP group's 'no' joins what seems to be a loud majority in opposition, there have been several citizens in support of raising the southbound railing and adding staggered shoulders for breakdowns.
"I support the increase, because of one word, safety," said Leon Smith at the Causeway Commission's August meeting, "Been driving the Causeway 25 years and I see firsthand, now more than ever, distracted drivers."
There's no doubt both sides will be carrying their cases over to the St. Tammany and Jefferson councils because, for now, they can't take them to the polls.
The Jefferson Parish Council is set to meet next Wednesday, but as of today, there is no item regarding the Causeway on its agenda.
If both bodies approve the bridge plans, the state bond commission would be the last hurdle. If even one votes it down, the project is dead.