Legislation attempts to block tolls on area ferries

Published: Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 00:17 AM.

“At some point down the line, I think any reasonable person would say that if we’re going to continue to cut spending and everything else, at some point it’s going to have to be revisited but certainly not at a time when we are having economic problems and people don’t have jobs. This is not the time to even consider something like this,” he said. “If you’re going to cut, sometimes it’s going to be in your backyard. I don’t see it at any time in the near future, but at some point down the line everybody needs to realize that if the legislature is going to continue to cut spending and reduce the size of government, some of these things will have to be paid for. This is certainly not the time.”

Sanderson said that while he supported the spirit of Speciale’s bill, he would introduce his own in the Senate.

“I’m going to come at it from a little different angle, so we’ll have two bills working for the same end result,” Sanderson said. “I haven’t filed mine yet because I want my bill to be a little bit more comprehensive as to how we go about this. I’m looking at putting in my bill some cost-saving measures to help offset the money that the legislature directed the ferry to raise because I think that that needs to also be a part of it.”

Sanderson said that while more tourists may use the Outer Banks ferries, a lot of workers use them as well.

“I understand on those two ferries out there that they have a lot more tourists than we do and to bear the brunt of that, but at the same time there are workers out there that depend on those ferries for the same thing that my folks depend on our ferries for,” said Sanderson, who uses the ferry to get from his Pamlico County home to his day care business in Havelock. “I’m hoping that we can come up with a little bit more comprehensive bill that will make it easier on all of us that use those ferries for work just as I do.”

The General Assembly mandated in 2011 that the N.C. Department of Transportation increase ferry revenues $5 million a year annually, but in 2012, then Gov. Bev Perdue put a one-year moratorium on rate increases and new fees.

The 2012-13 budget that passed in June of last year included tolls and toll increases that would take effect July 1.



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