December 19, 2010

VA Pilot: Are Tolls Answer to Funding New Ferries in N.C.?

By Jeff Hampton
The Virginian-Pilot
© December 19, 2010

..The fourth-oldest among the state's 21 ferries, the Hunt is scheduled for replacement in the division's long-range plans...Built in 1984, the river-class ferry was down for 20 of the 360 scheduled November trips five miles across the Currituck Sound between Knotts Island and the mainland...A new river-class ferry would cost $11 million

The Currituck ferry carries more than 25,000 vehicles annually. Operating costs are $2.3 million annually, according to a study by North Carolina State University for the state's ferry system.

The study showed how tolls could fund regular vessel replacement. Two options included $10 tolls for short routes such as the Currituck crossing and $30 for longer routes, or $12 for short routes and $50 for long routes.

Statewide, tolls cover about 6 percent of the Ferry Division's $32.2 million budget, the study showed.

The Ferry Division plans to hire a consultant early next year to determine whether tolls should be charged on free routes, such as the Currituck Sound crossing, and whether tolls should be raised on routes that already have fees...
(This inludes the $5 per trip Fort Fisher/Southport ferry).

Read the full article here
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