SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — In 2013 the North Carolina General Assembly gave the ferry system an ultimatum to increase fee’s and raise more money or compete for money from the general fund like every other mode of transportation.
“Each local transportation planning organization has to consider tolling,” said NCDOT spokesman Jamille Robbins. “They either pass a resolution for ferry tolling or the funds needed to purchase new ferry boats will compete for divisional funds for their share of roughly $32,000,000 dollars.”
The Southport-Fort Fisher ferry will have the state’s smallest increase at $2 per trip for the average sized car because the route is already close to self-sustaining.
“We don’t have to worry about the funds coming from other ferries because there is enough business,” said Martha Johnson. “I work as a volunteer here in the old jail here in Southport in the summertime and that’s the key thing. Either they have just come off the ferry boat or they’re going to go get on the ferry boat because it’s such a wonderful trip to be able to take.”
While the local impact may be small some are worried about the widespread impact of the rate hikes.
“The individual ferry rates here the change isn’t significant, but I’m still concerned on the statewide basis that we’re going to try and allow boats to compete with roads, and that’s just not a fair competition,” said Ronald Sparks.
You have until the end of the month to give your feedback to your local transportation planning organization.