Ride across Neuse River to remain free

Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 08:42 AM.

“It was obviously a grassroots effort. It came from the citizens,” he said. “The initial call I got was from a citizen saying ‘Ya’ll need to do something.’ And, in turn, they (citizens) started talking to the commissioners. Then, everybody got on board doing what needed to be done.”

Buck said it was a victory for Pamlico and surrounding counties. There were also plans in the works to toll the Bayview-Aurora route, which is along the same N.C. 306 corridor as the Cherry Branch-Minnesott Beach ferry.

“It is obviously a very positive thing for our county and for our area,” Buck said. “That ferry goes across to Craven as well. It benefits those that are coming to visit our county, but also those who go to work in Craven and Carteret counties.”

Buck added that he was a bit surprised, given the early tone in the General Assembly, especially among inland legislators.

“It seemed there were obstacles that we would have difficulty overcoming because there was seemingly so much support for tolls in the legislature. I wasn’t sure how we would overcome that,” he said. “But, by working together, by continuing to get all our counties together and working with our legislators and lobbyist, I think that is what you see here.”

Henri McClees, who along with her husband, Joe, are lobbyists for several counties, including Pamlico, said the resolution of the toll issue is part of a revamped approach for Department of Transportation funding set forth by Gov. Pat McCrory.

Highway Trust Fund money will be spent using a new formula: 40 percent for statewide Strategic Mobility Projects; 30 percent for Regional Impact Projects — allocated by population of Distribution Regions; and the remaining 30 percent allocated in equal share among the DOT divisions, including the Ferry Division.

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