Residents voice opposition to ferry tolls at hearing

Published: Monday, February 10, 2014 at 02:26 PM.

Larry Summers, an outspoken toll opponent from Oriental, invited the RPO to hold its next meeting at the community college and extended an invitation to DOT and ferry division representatives.

“We have 15 RPO members and I thought they might have been interested,” Summers said.

He and others in the “Don’t Tax Our Highway” movement have long contended that the two area ferries are extensions of N.C. 306. He said there was “something wrong” to toll ferries and not toll the state’s 13,000 bridges.

Many of the speakers charged that the legislative shift of decision-making to the RPO boards was a method of pitting coastal counties against one another. If tolls are not enacted to pay for replacement ferries, the costs would come from divisional highway funding, which is about $32 million annually for multiple counties.

Potter, the RPO member, said the opponents must remain vigilant, saying the tolling issue “will not go away.”

He said the process was a method “of pitting us against each other.”

N.C. Sen. Norman Sanderson, R-Pamlico, and N.C. Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, urged the RPOs not to act. In the past, each has introduced bills against tolling.

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