The Legislature's leading staff attorney on constitutional matters says Gov. Beverly Perdue had no legal authority to issue a one-year moratorium on new and increasing tolls for North Carolina's ferry system.
General Assembly bill drafting director Gerry Cohen spoke Thursday to a subcommittee about the executive order Perdue issued last week to stop for now higher rates on three routes already charging fares and fees on two river ferries currently toll-free.
Cohen wrote a memo to transportation budget-writers saying it's his opinion the order has no force or effect because she's bound by the state constitution to enact the budget law containing the tolls. New rates were supposed to begin April 1.
Perdue legislative lobbyist Pryor Gibson said the governor had legal opinions giving her authority to issue the order.