MADEIRA BEACH (FOX 13) - Madeira Beach may be the next Bay Area community to offer ferry service.
Later this week, the city will issue a request for proposals from companies interested in operating vessels connecting Madeira Beach's island with the sliver of territory it possesses on the mainland. Those boats would also connect the island to the Bay Pines V.A. complex, Treasure Island and St. Pete's Jungle Prada Park.
"You look at it," Mayor Travis Palladeno said Tuesday, sweeping his arm toward the Intracoastal Waterway. "You have a highway here that nobody's using, so you can move people freely. You don't have traffic lights, you're not creating more traffic congestion."
Palladeno predicted the most popular destination would be Johns Pass Village on the island's southern tip.
The town is looking for quick responses from interested operators, and quick implementation.
"We're looking at having it up and running by June or July of this year," the mayor told FOX 13 News.
Madeira Beach's interest in ferry or water taxi service follows the Clearwater Beach Ferry, which started up last year and water taxi service that recently started up in downtown Tampa.
By the end of March, the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg, and Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, must decide whether they will become equal partners in a regularly scheduled water connection between downtown Tampa and dwontown St. Pete.