Residents Have Strong Opinions About Ferry Tolls In ENC

Most people in Eastern Carolina tell WITN that they do not want tolls increased and implemented on ferries near the coast.

Residents are sounding off at several public hearings over the next two weeks, including one Wednesday night.

At the meeting in Washington, just about every speaker said they didn't want tolls on ferries. At least, not for locals who use them frequently.

Justin Keith lives near Belhaven. He said, "Let's have a ferry tax for tourists and charge them 40 bucks to cross the Ocracoke. 50 bucks. They'll pay it."

But the D.O.T. Ferry Division says $5 million needs to be raised somehow each year, in order to fund replacing the ferries down the road.

Either the ferries can compete with roads and bridges for all of the state's transportation funds, or each ferry route can be tolled.

For your typical 4-door car, a yearly pass on the Bayview-Aurora route would cost $150.

Tim Hass with the Ferry Division said, "If you're using the Bayview-Aurora route, it's about 3 bucks a week. And that's, you know, 3 bucks a week."

For individual trips, that ferry route could add up. It would be $7 each way.

Beaufort County residents like Justin Keith think it's unfair to those living along the water in Eastern Carolina.

Keith said, "Cut my income tax in half, cut my sales tax. If I'm second class, cut my sales tax in half. I don't need to be paying as much as the guy up there in the Piedmont because he gets all of this service, and us down here get nothing."

The D.O.T. says funding for replacement ferries used to come from the general assembly.

It's still up for debate, but it could be coming out of your wallet in the near future.

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