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NCDOT releases study, to hold meetings on ferry fare hike

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- The state Transportation Department has released a study looking at ways to raise $5 million annually by possibly raising rates on some ferry routes and adding tolls on others.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE STUDY

The DOT will hold public hearings this month on the four proposals involving potential toll increases on the Southport/Fort Fisher, Swan Quarter/Ocracoke and Cedar Island/Ocracoke routes. The study also proposes tolls on the Bayview/Aurora and Cherry Branch/Minnesott Beach routes.

The Legislature ordered the agency to raise $5 million annually through tolls on all ferries except the Ocracoke/Hatteras and Knotts Island ferries. Lawmakers said the new and increased tolls must be in effect by April 1.

The meetings are scheduled as follows:

Wednesday, Jan. 18, 7 p.m.
Hyde County Government Center, Multi-use Room
30 Oyster Creek Road, Swan Quarter

Thursday, Jan. 19, 7 p.m.
Beaufort Community College
5337 US 264 East, Washington

Monday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m.
Morehead City-Beaufort, NC No. 1710 Elks Lodge
400 Miller Farm Rd., Morehead City

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m.
ILA Union Hall
211 West 10th Street, Southport

A formal presentation will begin at 7 p.m., which will consist of an explanation of the toll increase and additional toll options. Following the presentation, the meeting will be open for statements, questions and comments. Anyone wishing to speak may register to do so at the sign-in table during the pre-hearing workshop. Additional comments may be submitted until Feb. 12.

For more information, contact Jamille Robbins, NCDOT- Human Environment Unit at 1598 Mail Service Center, Raleigh 27699-1598, (919) 707-6085 or jarobbins@ncdot.gov. Additional written comments regarding the proposed project may be submitted to Robbins until Feb. 10.

NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled persons who want to participate in this hearing. Anyone requiring special services should contact Robbins as early as possible so that arrangements can be made.

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Ferry Rate Increase

A few thoughts from an Ocracoke resident: The NC ferry system has always been considered an extension of the NC roadways. There seems to be a lot of bias against the ferry system and the Outer Banks and the coastal communities which happen to generate considerable sales tax revenues from tourism. The next time a rock slide closes Route 40, maybe we should think hard about DOT clearing it. Most of us never use that road and this last incident cost almost $13 million dollars to fix and it will happen again. Why should we all have to share the burden of an annual $40 million snow removal expense. It hardly ever snows on the coast and then it melts in a few days. Since we all choose to live in the same wonderful state, how about some consideration for your neighbors to the east.

ferry rate

There are large amounts of money spent after natural disasters on the outer banks. The number of people that use I40 is much larger than the people that use the small strip of land off the coast of NC. When you go to some states the ferry system is not government subsidised. the cost to cross from Hatteras to Ocracoke would cost between $20.00 to $30.00. It is a beautiful place but many people would go elsewhere for vacation. The cost of keeping inlets open for really no reason is expensive. All the businesses that benefit from this should appreciate the large tax base in the central part of the state that rarely if ever visit the outer banks. I am from the eastern part of the state and I think everything east of I95 is special. But there is not a thing wrong with a ferry toll. I always thought it was strange that so many ferries in NC are free.

Island living

Maybe the people living on an island should foot the bill along with businesses that have chosen to open on an island as well.

After all, it's an island, especially like Bald Head, where they have rules about means of travel.

Business along the outer banks rely on the ferry system.

Mainland dweller's don't need the ferry unless they're on vacation or a service business.

So, residents of the islands, business, and tourist can foot the bill.

Ferry toll rate hike

First a 4 cent per gallon increase in gasoline tax and now this. Looks like the NC government is set on increasing taxes in anyway it can. We have a toll road in the state now too.Living in SC is looking better and better.