FERRY TOLL

Updated January 29.

January 19, 2014. From Commissioner Vance Aydlett: Please post this. Mr. O'Neal is our BOC chairman. I am proud of our county and full BOC support on this issue.

From: Rep. R Steinburg Fri, 17 Jan 2014
    Below you will find a diagram that shows how funds in the Highway Trust Fund are distributed among the three funding pots: the statewide tier, the regional tier, and the division tier. Further below the diagram is a detailed list of which projects are eligible for funding under each of the three funding pots. Capital expenditures on the state maintained ferry system are eligible for funding under both the regional and division tiers, excluding replacement of state maintained ferry vessels which are eligible for only the division tier. RPOs and MPOs across the state will have to decide what projects are the most important for their respective areas given budgetary constraints.
    If the RPO does not vote to toll the ferry then ferry vessel replacement would come out of the division tier pot of money. Any project that is not funded from the Statewide or Regional Tiers will cascade to the Division tier where the RPO will have to decide which capital expenditure projects are the most important given budget constraints. From DOTís chart below, you can see under the division tier category that each of the 14 division will receive an equal share of approximately $34 million annually. A single vessel replacement ranges from $12 million for a river class vessel to $15 million for a sound class vessel.
    There are a few options that are available in this situation:
    An RPO can decide to pay for ferry vessel replacement out of its division pot of money and still have about $20 mil left over to spend during that year.
    An RPO can pass a resolution to toll. In this case, toll proceeds are credited to division exclusively for ferry vessel passenger replacement projects. Depending on when the tolls are implemented and when a ferry needs replacing, this option may/may not provide enough revenue to pay for replacement outright. Just because tolls are implemented does not mean a division will automatically have vessel replacement money. The toll proceeds just build up until replacement is required.
    Any proceeds from receipt generating activities such as selling naming rights, concessions, internet access, or advertising on a ferry route are credited back to that division for ferry passenger vessel replacements projects, in the same way as toll proceeds.
    There is a provision in HB 817 that provides an incentive for local funding for road projects. DOT will match any local funding commitment for a road construction project at 50% with a cap of $200mil that decreases to $100mil in 2015. The incentive allocation will be available for local use during the next 5 year funding cycle.
    There is a provision in HB 817 that provides an incentive for highway tolling. DOT will match capital construction funding directly attributable to toll revenue at 50% with a cap of $200mil that decreases to $100mil in 2015. The incentive allocation will be available for local use during the next 5 year funding cycle.
    The above options are not mutually exclusive. Any division, region, mpo or rpo can choose whether to take advantage of any of these options.
    There are other limitations on these two options that are spelled out in more detail in HB 817 and the technical corrections bill; however I wanted to give you a general idea on how these two provisions would work. I hope this information is helpful.

Jan 17, 2014, From S. Paul O'Neal:
Bob,  Our position is that a Ferry is no different than a bridge. Will bridges be subject to the same criteria? Let s use a bridge in the mountains, why is it treated different, shouldn't it have to go throught the same process? Why hasnt DOT created a sinking fund to replace Ferries? These are the questions our shared constituents are asking.  Thank you

January 18, 2014, From Rep. Bob Steinburg:
That's what the public hearing is for. We'll have a chance to hear from anyone and everyone at that time and entertain any and all ideas on what will be the most equitable solution. My ears and eyes will be open. Hope all commissioners and Dan will join me in attending.

January 29. From Senator Bill Cook. This is the letter that I sent to Currituck County manager Dan Scanlon about the Knotts-Island Ferry issue.

Dear Mr. Scanlon, I am opposed to ferry tolling on the Currituck Knotts-Island Ferry route. In fact, I have opposed the institution of tolls and increasing tolls on all ferry routes in North Carolina. When I was the N.C. House Representative for District 6, in 2012 I was able to convince the leadership to postpone the consideration of ferry tolls. Subsequently, in 2013 the decision was made to allow the local Rural Transportation Planning Organization to decide tolling determination. I intend to stand with you and the other Currituck County Commissioners regarding this tolling issue.
    Membership on the Albemarle Commission - Rural Transportation Planning Organization is limited to the area's Board of Transportation member and local elected officials who are appointed by each county and municipal board/council within the Albemarle region. The decision on tolling this route is in the hands of the board members of the local RPO. However, I will do what I can to impede the imposition of a toll on this route and in failing that I will advocate tolling that reflects the special circumstances of the folks living on Knotts-Island. I plan to attend the public hearing regarding this issue on Tuesday, Feb. 04, in Knotts-Island. Please don't hesitate to contact me regarding this issue. Regards, Bill