January 5, 2012

UPDATE: NCDOT sets public meetings on ferry toll increases

The North Carolina Department of Transportation will have four public meetings to answer questions and receive comments about the proposed toll rate increase on Southport/Fort Fisher, Swan Quarter/Ocracoke and Cedar Island/Ocracoke routes and proposed tolling of the Bayview/Aurora and Cherry Branch/Minnesott Beach routes to begin by April 1 of this year.
In 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly mandated that NCDOT increase ferry revenue up to $5 million annually. To accomplish this, NCDOT must increase toll rates on the three routes that are currently tolled and begin tolling two additional routes by April 1.

NCDOT hired a private firm, Wilbur Smith Associates (now CDM SMITH), to conduct a study to evaluate current ferry usage and research national standards. In addition, this study examined possible ferry toll increases as well as operational and infrastructure improvements necessary to efficiently and effectively implement toll increases and new toll collecting.
The meetings are scheduled as follows:
Wednesday, Jan. 18, 7 p.m.
Ocracoke School Gym
Lighthouse Road  Ocracoke

--Thursday, Jan. 19, 7 p.m.
Beaufort Community College
5337 U.S. 264 East, Washington

--Monday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m.
Morehead City-Beaufort, NC No. 1710 Elks Lodge
400 Miller Farm Rd., Morehead City

--Tuesday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m.
I.L.A. Union Hall
211 West 10th Street, Southport
A formal presentation will begin at 7 p.m., which will consist of an explanation of the toll increase and additional toll options.

Following the presentation, the meeting will be open for statements, questions and comments. Anyone wishing to speak may register to do so at the sign-in table during the pre-hearing workshop. Additional comments may be submitted until Feb. 12.
For more information, contact Jamille Robbins, NCDOT- Human Environment Unit at 1598 Mail Service Center, Raleigh 27699-1598, (919) 707-6085 or e-mail [email protected].

Additional written comments regarding the proposed project may be submitted to Robbins until Feb. 10.
NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled persons who want to participate in this hearing. Anyone requiring special services should contact Robbins as early as possible so that arrangements can be made.

Also, the Swan-Quarter to Ocracoke ferry route will offer extended hours on Jan. 16 to accommodate people from Ocracoke who want to attend the hearing.

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