Mixed reactions to proposed ferry hike; public hearings begin - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Mixed reactions to proposed ferry hike; public hearings begin

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The North Carolina Department of Transportation is holding public hearings, starting Monday, on increasing the tolls on state ferries, including the Southport/Fort Fisher Ferry. They are scheduled to take place in Raleigh and in Grantsboro.

Tolls could be doubled, which would mean 10 dollars for each car and an additional two dollars for each passenger.

Governor Beverly Perdue stopped any new toll increases in North Carolina before leaving office last year. That was after the General Assembly called for increasing the state ferry's revenue to $5 million. Now, the Department of Transportation wants to know what people think.

In Fort Fisher, riders seemed to be split on the issue.  Some said doubling the price of cars to $10 dollars and adding two dollars for each additional passenger is too much.

"It's kind of a local thing," said Sherman Archer. "It used to be like 'hey lets all go check out Southport', now it will be like 'lets just go on our anniversary."

"It's a good thing to have the prices low," said Wasima Reza, "It provides extra incentive."

It's not just the daily trips, the proposal also calls for increasing the annual fairs, some say that isn't fair for those who have to take the ferry for work.

"The people working, it's not fair to them, they have to ride," said John Guthrie.

Others disagreed, saying the increase doesn't make a difference since the ferry would still be cheaper than driving.

"You figure wear and tear on your vehicle and gas," said John Adams. "My family comes down and we ride the ferry, and 10 dollars would be a great deal for us." 

No matter where they stood on the issue, most agreed that the public hearings should take place closer to home. 

"That doesn't make any sense, it would probably be best to hold the hearings locally," said Adams.

There are two public hearings, one Monday night at seven in Raleigh and another next Monday in Grantsboro.  You will also be able to leave comments online.

The proposed hike would take place by July 1.

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