Ferry toll protest heads to state capital - WNCT

Ferry toll protest heads to state capital

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WASHINGTON, N.C. -

People who disagree with proposed ferry toll increases will get their chance to protest in our state capital.

Some call them unfair, uncalled for, and an unnecessary burden on working families. No doubt, increased ferry tolls set to hit July 1st have people in the east fired up.
 
"You have a breach of contract that's taking place and low and behold, that's what makes people angry," said Paul Yurko, who lives in Pamlico County.

"It is totally unfair for the people of coastal Carolina to pay for their highways. We pay gas tax like everyone else and the ferry system is part of the highway system," said Henri McClees, McClees Consulting.
 
On Monday, lobbyist Henri McClees and her husband, Joe, organized a free bus shuttle from Beaufort County to Raleigh for people like Paul Yurko who want to protest the rate increases.
            
Although only he showed up, McClees expects nearly 50 people from Pamlico County to carpool there to tell lawmakers they don't agree with the tolls.
 
"Our area of coastal NC has not really recovered from Hurricane Irene. Many of our little communities in Pamlico, Beaufort and Hyde County really have not completed the rebuilding process. So there's a lot of economic pressure," said McClees.
 
In 2011, the General Assembly mandated that the North Carolina Department of Transportation increase annual ferry revenue to $5 million, which is where the tolls come in.
            
And now that former governor Beverly Perdue's one-year moratorium on the tolls is over, rates will increase this summer on the Southport-Fort Fisher, Swan Quarter-Ocracoke and Cedar Island-Ocracoke routes. Plus, tolls will be added on the Bayview-Aurora and Cherry-Branch-Minnesot Beach routes, often used by commuters to get to work.  
 
"The bottom line message is, pay attention to us! We may be small but we are fighting for something that's important for people that their livelihoods are at stake," said McClees.

See below for the event schedule:


Depart from Beaufort County Community College
5337 Highway 264 East, Washington, NC 27889
1:30 pm - Be in the parking lot by 1:30 pm to board bus to Raleigh. Park in "P8" parking lot. Enter BCCC on Campus Drive West, turn left into Parking Lot 8 next to Building 8.
1:50 pm - Bus transport by Southern Express departs Beaufort County Community College. Park your car at Beaufort CCC and ride with us. No charge for parking. We will transport any citizen who wishes to attend this Raleigh hearing, up to capacity of the bus. Many citizens are car pooling and will drive cars to Raleigh, particularly from Pamlico County.
4:00 pm - Arrive at NC General Assembly, 16 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601.  Meetings with legislators regarding NO FERRY TAX.
5:00 pm - Dinner (at your own expense).
6:30 pm - Arrive at Wake Commons Building, 4011 Carya Drive, Raleigh, NC 27610. Immediately, sign up to speak against ferry tolls.
7:00 pm - Public Hearing at Wake Commons Building
9:30 pm - Depart Raleigh, arrive back in Beaufort County approx. 11:30 pm

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