RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Transportation will hold a fifth public meeting to answer questions and receive comments about proposed toll changes on North Carolina ferry routes. These changes include toll rate increases on the Southport/Fort Fisher, Swan Quarter/Ocracoke and Cedar Island/Ocracoke routes and the addition of tolls on the Bayview/Aurora and Cherry Branch/Minnesott Beach routes, by April 1 of this year. The new meeting is scheduled for:
Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.Pamlico Community College Ned Everett Delamar Center Auditorium5049 Highway 306 S., Grantsboro In 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly mandated that NCDOT increase annual ferry revenue to $5 million. To accomplish this, NCDOT must increase toll rates on the three routes that currently have tolls, 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 needed to efficiently and effectively implement toll increases and new toll collecting. The four other meetings are scheduled as follows: Wednesday, Jan. 18, 7 p.m.Ocracoke School Gymnasium1 Schoolhouse Road, Ocracoke Thursday, Jan. 19, 7 p.m.Beaufort Community College, Bldg. 8, Auditorium5337 U.S. 264 E., Washington Monday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m.Morehead City-Beaufort, NC No. 1710 Elks Lodge400 Miller Farm Road, Morehead City Tuesday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m.I.L.A. Union Hall211 W. 10th St., Southport At each meeting, 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 prior to the presentation. For more information, contact Jamille Robbins, NCDOT- Human Environment Unit at 1598 Mail Service Center, Raleigh 27699-1598, (919) 707-6085 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional written comments regarding the proposed project may be submitted to Robbins until Feb. 16. 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 soon as possible so that arrangements can be made.