Ferry Toll Info 2014


November 6, 2015. From Commissioner Vance Aydlett
Aydlett Opposed Ocracoke Toll To Block Ferry Toll
By William F. West
The Daily Advance
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
MOYOCK — Currituck County’s representative on a panel of the Albemarle Rural Planning Organization says he voted against imposing a proposed toll on the Ocracoke ferry in part because he hasn’t seen any assurances there won’t be a toll on the Knotts Island ferry someday.
Currituck Commissioner Vance Aydlett detailed Monday why he voted Oct. 21 with a representative from Hyde County against adding the toll proposal to the RPO’s technical advisory committee agenda for January.
Aydlett said he believes if he voted he in favor of placing the toll on the panel’s agenda, in effect he would be saying it was OK to put a toll on the Knotts Island ferry. He made clear he doesn’t want users of the Knotts Island ferry to have to pay one penny to use the vessel that crosses Currituck Sound and links Knotts Island to Currituck’s mainland.
“We have been told that the Knotts Island was not going to be included in tolls. However, nobody has showed anything in writing (to that effect),” Aydlett said.
The Albemarle RPO, based in Hertford, is a voluntary association that includes the county governments in Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties. The RPO plans rural transportation systems and advises the N.C. Department of Transportation on rural transportation policy.
Ferries used to be funded with direct appropriations from the Legislature. That changed several years ago, however, when lawmakers shifted responsibility for the maintenance and replacement of ferries to the divisions of DOT.
Aydlett said he still disagrees with that decision.
The Legislature did provide for new ferry acquisitions to be funded with revenue-raising initiatives such as tolling. Tolls first have to be requested by rural planning organizations, that is, the RPOs, or by larger metropolitan planning organizations before being approved by the DOT.
Aydlett said he recalled DOT’s Division 1, which covers the Albemarle region, once being allocated as much as approximately $70 million a year for bridge, highway and road maintenance needs. Now, however, Division 1 receives $30 million a year for those needs.
That’s not enough to pay for the district’s road needs and replace ferries. He believes the cost for replacing the ferries alone eventually could be as high as $100 million.
Aydlett said there’s a fairness issue involved.
“When they start tolling bridges, when they start tolling highways, then we’ll toll the ferries. Why should it be any different?” he said.
At the RPO advisory panel meeting in October, Aydlett said he asked other members how many believed the division level’s road dollars should be the source of funding for ferry replacement and maintenance.
“Not the first one raised their hand,” he said.
Aydlett said the vote was 5-2 against putting tolls on the RPO http://knottsislandonline.com/kiscrapbook/ferrytoll2015.htmladvisory panel’s agenda in January. Asked why he and the Hyde representative cast the only two votes against the proposal, he said the answer is “very simple.”
“They don’t have ferries. So, (using district level funds to pay for ferries) takes away from their road money,” he said. “And I don’t blame ‘em. I understand. They’re voting to protect their constituents, just as Hyde and myself are doing here.”
Still, Aydlett said he urged fellow panel members to “stand together and protect each others’ constituents” on the ferry funding issue. United, he said, the counties in the Albemarle RPO can “make the General Assembly come back and put (ferry funding) back at a funding source that is reasonable and where it should be — not at the division level where we’re in here bickering about the money.”
The RPO advisory panel’s next meeting is set for Jan. 27 in Elizabeth City.

March 20, 2015. From Commissioner Vance Aydlett
Good News: Senate Bill #307 “Eliminate Tolling on Ferries/Appropriations” was filed on March 17, 2015. Many thanks to Primary Bill Sponsors Senator Norman Sanderson (District #3 Carteret, Craven, & Pamlico Counties) and Senator Bill Cook (District #1 Beaufort, Camden, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, & Perquimans Counties). Filing of this bill is the beginning of the process. The bill will be introduced and given its first reading on March 18, 2015. Then, it will be assigned to one or more committees to be heard in committee.

February 23, 2015. Commissioner Vance Aydlett letter to the sponsers of the Ferry Toll Bill.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for sponsoring and supporting H.B. 93. Tolls on ferries place an undue cost and hardship on the coastal residents who depend on them daily as their roadway. I live in the small community of Knotts Island in Currituck County, approximately 1700 residents. The alternative to using the ferry is an one hour, 50 mile drive into the rural areas of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Va. to reach the county seat and for our children to attend Middle and High School. The ferry for our area resident citizens is a necessity not a convenience. Thank you again for your support.

February 20, 2015. Forwarded by Commissioner Vance Aydlett.
From S. Henri McClees. Ferry Tax News: House Bill #93 filed this week

Thank you to Rep. Michael Speciale and Rep. John Torbett for filing House Bill #93. Rep. Speciale and Torbett are the primary sponsors. Further, Representatives John Bell, Becky Carney, George Graham, Pricey Harrison, and coastal Representative Paul Tine have signed on as co-sponsors.

House Bill #93 was filed on 2/16/15, and referred to the House Transportation Committee. If it receives a favorable report, it will then go to be heard in the House Appropriations Committee. If it passes these two committees, it will be heard on the House floor, and if passed, will be sent to the Senate.

This bill would eliminate all tolls for all ferries. This is a good strategy because the NC Department of Transportation attempted, this month, to cut the Ferry Division annual budget by $800,000. The internal cut was stopped, but if it had been implemented, DOT would have wanted to start tolling to create a revenue stream.

We are just beginning the budget process, and we face challenges in the Senate with respect to “No Ferry Tax”. However, House Bill #93 is a good beginning.

Please take a moment to email Rep. Michael Speciale and Rep. John Torbett to thank them for their primary sponsorship of the bill and their continuing support of our ferry system. Also, it would be great to thank the other co-sponsors.

Michael Special, John Torbett, Paul Tine, John Bell, Becky Carney, George Graham, Pricey Harrison
Please send a copy to Commissioner Vance Aydlett

To send one email to the group CLICK HERE