Residents voice opposition to ferry tolls at hearing

ferry hearing

Protestors to ferry tolls appear with signs at a hearing last week in Pamlico County.

Charlie Hall/Halifax Media Service
Published: Monday, February 10, 2014 at 02:26 PM.

A familiar message of “no tolls” resonated from nearly 20 speakers at a public hearing on possible ferry tolls last week at Pamlico Community College.

The General Assembly last year put the three-year battle over new or higher tolls for replacement vessels in the coastal ferry system at the discretion of the local Rural Planning Organizations.

The state Ferry Division, under the state Department of Transportation, cannot change tolls without expressed requests from the local boards.

Speakers ranged from local legislators and elected county officials to residents, who urged the 15-member Down East RPO not to request any tolls.

This was one of seven public hearings and of particular interest locally are the Cherry Branch-Minnessot route over the Neuse River and the Bayview ferry route, which crosses the Pamlico River.

However, the recipients of the message — RPO members — were noticeably absent with the exception of Pamlico County representative Josh Potter, the mayor of Minnesott Beach; and Pamlico alternate Kenny Heath, who spoke in place of Chris Mele of Oriental. Mele had a previous out-of-state commitment. The RPO coordinator Patrick Flanagan of the Eastern Carolina Council was at the hearing, but did not speak.

The hearing attracted more than 200 people to the Delamar Center.

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