Highways, bridges, and ferries are a legitimate function of government. The Ferry is nothing more than a bridge from one land mass to another. Had the State built a bridge where the ferries are now, surely they would not have charged a toll. Bridges require maintenance and upkeep, no less so than the Ferry system. Therefore, my position is that the State should continue to provide the ferries to the citizens with no ferry tolls. The citizens of North Carolina have bought and paid for the ferries, and to charge them to use what their taxes paid for is a travesty. The ferries are merely and extention of the roads, and therefore should be just as free and accessible as the roadways. To charge the citizens of North Carolina who use the ferries daily to commute to and from work, while allowing free passage on the ferries which predominantly carry tourists is immoral and unethical.
It is likely that pending cuts by the State are going to be more prevalent with each successive session of the Legislature. This is necessary to reduce the tax burdens on the citizens and on the business community. If we cannot get the State to understand that we paid for the Ferry system and should not pay again and again with each use, and if the only way they can operate effectively in the face of budget cuts is to charge for their services, then the following should apply:
If the ferry system is going to charge passengers, then the charges should be applied across the system, i.e., all of the ferries should charge a fee. No exemptions. This will lower the cost across the system for all passengers.
There should be a "regular rider' discount program in place for those who use the system regularly to get to and from their places of employment.
The Ferry system needs to look at ways to cut costs and save money, in order to minimize the cost of the tolls to their riders.