MANNS HARBOR, N.C. (WNCT) – With the new state budget, the North Carolina Ferry System could see big changes.
Governor Pat McCrory says the ferry system is on a promising course for the future.
The legislation eliminates the possibility of tolling for the Hatteras, Currituck, Cherry Branch and Pamlico River routes, and creates a recurring annual appropriation of $4 million for vessel replacement.
“This budget is a big victory for the people of Eastern North Carolina,” said Governor McCrory. “It ensures our citizens a viable ferry system will connect them to job opportunities and support local tourism by bringing visitors for generations to come.”
The new budget also sets aside $3.65 million for the purchase of a passenger ferry that will carry pedestrian traffic from Hatteras directly into Ocracoke Village, which will help alleviate traffic and summertime congestion on the Hatteras Inlet vehicle ferries.
In addition, the budget funds a $2.3 million expansion of the State Shipyard in Manns Harbor that will allow more long-term ferry restoration.
The North Carolina Ferry System has seven regular routes that cross five different bodies of water, from the Cape Fear River to Currituck Sound. In the 2014-15 fiscal year, ferries carried more than 700,000 vehicles and 1.6 million passengers all over Eastern North Carolina.