State legislators to attend ferry meeting in Oriental

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 04:45 PM.

A number of state lawmakers will be in Oriental on Saturday morning for an informational session on planned ferry toll changes, sponsored by an anti-tolls group and its supporters.

The 9 to 11 a.m. meeting is at the Oriental Town Hall, put on by Don’t Tax Our Highways, a grassroots group that formed in 2012 after the General Assembly ordered new and increased tolls for the seven coastal ferries.

The changes include first-time tolls for the Minnesott-Cherry Branch and Bayview-Aurora routes, used primarily by commuting workers and also by veterans going to Craven and Carteret counties for medical appointments.

The meeting is open to the public, but seating is limited to about 60 in the new town hall. Larry Summers, an Oriental commissioner and one of the anti-toll group leaders, said public seating would be on a first-come basis. He added that the legislators and their aides, along with those making presentations, would take about half of the seating.

He emphasized that the meeting is not a public hearing. He said the senators and house members attending are all on the record against the toll changes.

“We are not here to challenge them,” Summers said. “This is an informational meeting so that we can provide them with the background they need to go back to Raleigh and argue against the tolls.”

The toll changes will take place July 1 unless there is a reverse action by the General Assembly, which first ordered the overseeing N.C. Department of Transportation to generate an extra $5 million annually in 2011. An executive order by then Gov. Bev. Perdue put a one-year moratorium in place, but that has since been rescinded by the legislators.



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