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As governor, legislature fight for ferry fares, business owners worry

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — It hasn’t happened yet, but riding a ferry in North Carolina could soon cost more.

The legislature required the Department of Transportation to raise more revenue from ferry riders, but a recent executive order by the governor has temporarily stopped that plan. People in southport are still worried about the possibility of a hike.

“Part of the charm of Southport is having that ferry and being able to take that over to the aquarium, going over and seeing what’s going on over in carolina beach,” Southport business owner Emily Giles said.

But is it quite as charming if the price is more expensive?

New rates were supposed to take effect April 1. The increase would double the fare on the Southport-Fort Fisher ferry from $5 to $10 each way per car.

“Even with rising gas costs, I think double is just too aggressive, and I think the state should find more clever ways to make up for the budget differences,” ferry passenger Rachel McPherson said.

An executive order from Gov. Bev Perdue has temporarily stopped the hike from happening. The DOT says it is in a holding pattern, because it wants to follow the law and the governor’s order, leaving open the option of going with the proposed rate.

Passengers on the Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry are not the only ones upset about the possible toll increase.

“I think it will have an impact on our business, especially in the summer,” Southport business owner Barbara Pascucci said. “We have many tourists who tell us that when they have company they want to bring their people here, but the people love to ride the ferry. They will not drive down.”

Downtown Southport business owners say that if that price changes at all, fewer people will come aboard the boat and their business.

“By raising that cost we fear that those visitors aren’t going to come over to southport as often, so I just keep my fingers crossed that the price doesn’t go up,” Giles said.

Ferry tolls were on the agenda at a state House Appropriations Subcommittee meeting today. Lawmakers were expected to discuss whether the governor has the legal authority to block the increases.

More: continued here

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