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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue says she has the power to stop unpopular increases on ferry tolls at the coast with an executive order.

Perdue announced Tuesday she would sign an order that would place a 12-month moratorium on requiring higher tolls on three routes and new tolls on two other routes. The Legislature told the Department of Transportation last year to generate $5 million in new revenues through tolls that must be in place by April 1.

Perdue’s office justifies the executive order through a state law giving DOT discretion to collect tolls, which Perdue says would place a burden on working people in a region still recovering from Hurricane Irene. Perdue labeled the tolls a “ferry tax.”

There was no immediate response from legislative leaders.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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