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Fighting Ferry Tolls

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May 28, 2014

Great news: Bills filed in Senate & House to Stop Ferry Tolling

Senator Bill Cook filed Senate Bill 792 to stop ferry tolling.  Senator Norman Sanderson joined with Sen. Cook to find other monies to permanently replace receipts that would have been generated by ferry tolling.

Today, four outstanding Representatives Bob Steinburg, Paul Tine, John Torbett, and Michael Specialefiled House Bill 1234 to stop ferrying tolling. Rep. Charles Jeter joined these four primary House Bill sponsors to direct the NC Dept. of Transportation to find other receipt-generation activities and use the proceeds for ferry passenger vessel replacement projects.

These Senators and Representatives are fired up!  They are working diligently to STOP FERRY TOLLING. Please thank them for their faithful work for you and the other coastal citizens who rely on the ferries for transportation. Please take time to call their Legislative offices and email them and thank them for their support of North Carolina’s coastal citizens: 

Sen. Bill Cook:  (919) 715-8293bill.cook@ncleg.net
Sen. Norman Sanderson: (919) 733-5706norman.sanderson@ncleg.net
Rep. Bob Steinburg: (919) 733-0010 bob.steinburg@ncleg.net
Rep. Paul Tine (919) 733-5906paul.tine@ncleg.net
Rep. John Torbett (919) 733-5868john.torbett@ncleg.net
Rep. Michael Speciale (919) 733-5853michael.speciale@ncleg.net
Rep. Charles Jeter (919) 733-5654charles.jeter@ncleg.net

If you have any problem in reaching a Legislator’s office, call the main telephone number of the NC General Assembly (919) 733-4111 and ask to be connected to the Legislator’s office.

Please tell the Legislator THANK YOU.  Let them know WE APPRECIATE THEM!  It is because of diligent legislators who CARE ABOUT PEOPLE that we have a chance to defeat ferry tolls.  Do your part today!

Please feel free to forward this email to your family and friends who may also want to thank our advocates who are helping coastal citizens by working to STOP FERRY TOLLS!

For more information, please contact Joe McClees or Henri McClees.

McClees Consulting, Inc.
PO Box 430, Oriental, NC 28571-0430
Office (252) 249-1097, Fax (252) 249-3275
www.mccleesconsulting.com
Joe’s mobile (252) 671-1585, Henri’s mobile (252) 671-1559


February 26, 2014

GREAT NEWS FOR “NO FERRY TAX”
 
Thank you to everyone who attended the final NC DOT Public Hearing in Ocracoke on Monday evening, 2/24/14.  It was a great turnout, with many Ocracoke citizens expressing many excellent reasons for NOT tolling the Hatteras Ocracoke ferry.  They also opposed any increases to tolls on the Cedar Island or Swan Quarter ferry routes.
 
Thank you to Hyde County Commissioners and Currituck County Commissioners who attended and expressed their opposition to ferry tolling.  We especially appreciate H.M. “Butch” Petrey, Currituck Co. Commissioner and ARPO member, who attended and expressed his continuing and unyielding opposition to ferry tolls.
 
Thank you to the Down East RPO who refused to ask for ferry tolls!  On 2/21/14, the Down East RPO unanimously voted to send the issue back to Raleigh without asking for a ferry toll.
 
On March 10, 2014 the Albemarle RPO (ARPO) will meet at the Vernon James Center in Plymouth, NC.  Find more detailed information about the ARPO, the ferry issue, and agenda of this 3/10/14 meeting at: www.albemarlecommission.org/planning/ferries.  As of the time of this email, the website states “ARPO Staff will not be including a ferry resolution on the agenda for this meeting and will wait for further direction from TAC voting members on the ferry tolling issue.”
 
There is a link to TAC voting member email information on the Albemarle Commission webpage.  Please contact these RPO TAC members to express your concerns about ferry tolls.
 
We will keep you informed.  If you have questions, do not hesitate to call or email us.  Thanks for your interest and support on this important issue.
 
Best regards, Henri & Joe
 
Joe & Henri McClees
McClees Consulting, Inc.
PO Box 430
Oriental, NC 28571-0430
Office (252) 249-1097
Fax (252) 249-3275
www.mccleesconsulting.com
Joe’s mobile (252) 671-1585
Henri’s mobile (252) 671-1559


February 19, 2014

FINAL TWO FERRY TOLL PUBLIC HEARINGS
 
Thank you to everyone who has attended the NC Dept. of Transportation Public Hearings on the issue of ferry tolls.  The final two ferry toll Public Hearings will be held tomorrow night in Hatteras and next Monday night in Ocracoke.  Please attend and encourage others to attend to express your concerns about DOT’s proposals regarding ferry tolls.  We are making great progress, and believe we have the opportunity to make other arrangements through legislative action when the NC General Assembly convenes in May, 2014:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 7-9 pm

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras, NC

Monday, February 24, 2014 7-9 pm
Ocracoke School
120 Schoolhouse Road, Ocracoke, NC
 
Joe and Henri will attend these meetings.  If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us immediately.  Thank you!  Best regards, Henri and Joe
 
Joe & Henri McClees
McClees Consulting, Inc.
PO Box 430
Oriental, NC 28571-0430
Office (252) 249-1097
Fax (252) 249-3275
www.mccleesconsulting.com
Joe’s mobile (252) 671-1585
Henri’s mobile (252) 671-1559


February 14, 2014

Morehead City, Hatteras, & Ocracoke Ferry Toll Public Hearings now scheduled

Please plan to attend the Morehead City, Hatteras, or Ocracoke Public Hearing on the ferry toll issue. We want to continue to communicate not only to DOT officials but to our local RPOs.  We do not want these vastly unpopular ferry tolls.  Give us the opportunity to find ferry funding from the NC General Assembly without rushing to impose unwise tolls. The RPO is not required to vote on the issue of ferry tolls, and there is no good reason to do so at this moment.

3 REMAINING PUBLIC HEARINGS ON FERRY TOLL ISSUE (AS RESCHEDULED):

Monday, February 17, 2014 7-9 pm
Crystal Coast Civic Center
3505 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 7-9 pm
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras, NC

Monday, February 24, 2014 7-9 pm
Ocracoke School
120 Schoolhouse Road, Ocracoke, NC

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.  Best regards, Henri

S. Henri McClees
Attorney at Law
PO Box 430
Oriental, NC 28571
Office (252) 249-1097
Fax (252) 249-3275
www.mccleesconsulting.com
Joe’s mobile (252) 267-1585
Henri’s mobile (252) 671-1559


February 10, 2014

Morehead City & Ocracoke Ferry Toll Hearings Rescheduled

RALEIGH - The North Carolina Department of Transportation has rescheduled two of its public hearings on ferry tolls due to winter weather forecast to hit the state this week. 

The Morehead City hearing, originally scheduled for February 11, will instead be held February 17 at the Crystal Coast Civic Center. The Ocracoke hearing, originally scheduled for February 12, has been rescheduled for February 24 at the Ocracoke School.

Last week, public hearings were held in Knotts Island, Washington, and Grantsboro. The schedule for the remaining hearings is as follows:

Thursday, February 13, 2014 7-9 p.m.
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
59200 Museum Drive
Hatteras, NC 27943

Monday, February 17, 2014 7-9 p.m.
Crystal Coast Civic Center
3505 Arendell Street
Morehead City, NC 28557

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 7-9 p.m.
Southport City Hall
201 E. Moore Street
Southport, NC 28461

Monday, February 24, 2014 7-9 p.m.
Ocracoke School
120 Schoolhouse Road
Ocracoke, NC 27960

At each of the hearings, a formal presentation will start the meeting. Following the presentation, the meeting will be open for statements, questions, and comments. Anyone wishing to speak should register to do so at the sign-in table prior to the presentation. Please arrive about 30 minutes early to allow time to sign in. Those who cannot attend one of the meetings may submit written comments to jarobbins@ncdot.gov any time before the end of business February 28..Written comments carry equal weight to verbal comments at the meetings.

In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly mandated that new ferry acquisitions be funded through Strategic Transportation Initiative funding or by revenue-raising initiatives such as tolling, advertising, and concessions. The General Assembly also mandated that all tolling increases be requested by the regional Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs) or Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) before being approved by the Board of Transportation.

In its December meeting, the Board of Transportation approved a tolling methodology which tolls routes by distance travelled and raises approximately five million dollars a year for ferry replacement. This methodology includes the establishment of tolls on the Hatteras-Ocracoke, Currituck-Knotts Island, Bayview-Aurora, and Cherry Branch-Minnesott Beach routes, as well as increases in tolls on the Southport-Fort Fisher, Cedar Island-Ocracoke, and Swan Quarter-Ocracoke routes. The proposed rate changes can be found on NCDOT's Ferry website.

All money collected will go only toward new ferry vessels. After the public hearings, the RPOs/MPOs will decide whether to accept the toll changes. 

For more information about the upcoming meetings, please contact Jamille Robbins, NCDOT - Human Environment Unit at (919) 707-6085 or jarobbins@ncdot.gov.

NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled persons who want to participate in these hearings. Anyone requiring special services should contact Jamille Robbins as soon as possible in order for arrangements to be made.


February 6, 2014

More information about Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs)
 
Thanks to everyone who attended the Beaufort County ferry toll Public Meeting on Wed night!
 
A good question was raised, which is not easy to answer:  How does a citizen find out who is on his RPO and contact the members of his RPO?
 
The DOT representative instructed us to go to the DOT website, click on contacts, and the information would be there.  I could not find the information at that location.
 
The structure of NC’s Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs) is confusing, whether or not it is deliberating confusing, I cannot say.  The various RPOs have different formats and various types of websites and information portals. A complete and current listing of members of these RPOs is not easily available online.  If anyone finds a complete listing, please send me the link!  Following is some information to aid you in contacting the appropriate members of relevant RPOs:
 
Albemarle Rural Planning Organization (“ARPO”)
(Serves Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, & Washington counties)
ARPO Chairman is Lloyd E. Griffin, III, who is a Pasquotank Co. Commissioner
(252) 335-1178 in Elizabeth City, NC
Email: legriffin111@gmail.com
Planning Director & ARPO Coordinator is Angela Welsh (252) 426-5775;
Email: awelsh@albemarlecommission.org
www.albemarlecommission.org
 
Mid-East Rural Planning Organization
(serves Beaufort, Martin, Pitt counties)
Beaufort Co. Commission representative is Hood Richardson in Washington, NC
Email: hrichardsonpa@embarqmail.com (Mr. Richardson opposes ferry tolls.)
Mid-East RPO Director Bryant Buck (252) 974-1844; email bbuck@mideastcom.org
http://www.mideastcom.org
 
Down East Rural Transportation Planning Organization (“DERPO”)
(Serves Carteret, Craven, Jones, Onslow, & Pamlico Counties)
Down East Director Patrick Flanagan (252) 638-3185, ext 3031 or (252) 638-2016
Email: pflanagan@eccog.org
New Bern Office (252) 638-3185, ext. 3001
http://www.eccog.org/planning-and-gis/planning/transportation-planning/derpo
 
Eastern Carolina RPO
Eastern Carolina Rural Transportation Planning Organization (“ECRPO”)
(Serves Duplin, Greene, Lenoir, & Wayne Counties)
Eastern Carolina RPO Director Rob Will (252) 638-3185, ext 3002
Email: fwill@eccog.org
http://www.eccog.org/planning-and-gis/planning/transportation-planning/ecrpo
 
Please contact your local RPO representatives and politely ask them to give us time to find other funding for the ferries.  Ask them to postpone a vote or vote NO on ferry tolls.
 
Join us at one of the remaining Public Hearings to voice your opinion about tolling the ferries!  It is extremely important that your voices be heard.  Come to at least one of these meetings.
Below are the locations of the remaining Public Hearings.  Call if you have questions.  Thanks!
 
Best regards, Joe & Henri McClees
McClees Consulting, Inc.
Post Office Box 430, Oriental, NC 28571
Office (252) 249-1097, Fax (252) 249-3275
www.mccleesconsulting.com
Joe’s mobile (252) 671-1585
Henri’s mobile (252) 671-1559

REMAINING FEBRUARY 2014 PUBLIC HEARINGS ON FERRY TOLL ISSUE:
Thursday, February 6, 2014, 7-9 pm
Pamlico Community College - Delamar Center
5049 Highway 306 South, Grantsboro, NC

Monday, February 10, 2014 4-7 pm
ILA - Southport
211 W. 10th Street, Southport, NC

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 7-9 pm
Crystal Coast Civic Center
3505 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 7-9 pm
Ocracoke School
120 Schoolhouse Road, Ocracoke, NC

Thursday, February 13, 2014 7-9 pm
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras, NC


February 5, 2014

Ocracoke community planning meeting to prepare for Ferry toll hearing

A community planning meeting will be held Saturday, Feb. 8th  at 1:30pm at the Community Center.

All are welcome to attend the informal planning meeting, where Ocracoke residents can discuss our plans for official NCDOT  ferry tolls meeting on the 12th.Please plan to attend the ferry toll meeting, which will be held in the Ocracoke School gym.

Ocracoke:
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 7-9 pm
Ocracoke School
120 Schoolhouse Road, Ocracoke, NC


February 5, 2014

PDF of NC Dot Ferry Tolling Methodology
via Manager Rich


January 31, 2014

Please join us at the Public Hearings-  Help us protect our ferries!

Bureaucrats at the NC Dept. of Transportation plan to coerce local transportation planning organizations into requesting ferry tolls on all untolled ferry routes.  They claim the Legislature mandated this action in the 2014 Budget Senate Bill 402/Session law 2013-360.  NOT TRUE.  See the actual language on pages 308 and 309 of the Budget.  NO ferry tolls can be added without a request from the local citizens through their RPO.

The NC General Assembly gave local citizens a voice in our local transportation needs, specifically including decisions about ferries in coastal counties.

NC Dept. of Transportation launched bureaucrats into ferry counties to threaten us with disingenuous information and tactics.  They claim the local RPOs MUST vote on ferry tolls.  NOT TRUE.  On January 9, 2014, the Chairman of the NC Board of Transportation announced, “In adopting this methodology, …we approved tolling...”  Listen to his statement on the 1/09/14 meeting video around minute 28:51.

Please attend your local Public Hearing (complete list at end of this email).  Contact your County Commissioners and RPO members.  We must speak truth to our local Rural Planning Organizations, specifically to the Transportation Advisory Committees.  Ferry tolls will NOT raise sufficient funds to purchase a new ferry for any ferry route.  EVER.  Ferry tolls will cause grief and hardship on local citizens, without raising significant funds to benefit our local citizens.

Your local RPO must NEVER ask request a ferry toll.  Why?  Here are the reasons:
•  Ferry tolls will never raise sufficient money to purchase a new ferry for any route.
•  As was shown to the Legislature, very little net proceeds will be raised from tolling the untolled ferry routes.
•  It is easy for the NC Board of Transportation in Raleigh to “adopt a methodology” which includes imposes ferry tolls.  They do not know the many limited income people who rely on the public ferries to get to work, medical care, and necessities.  We do know & care for these people.  We must speak for our local citizens.
•  Tolls will hurt local citizens in economically depressed areas without providing promised benefits.
•  Ferries cannot pay for themselves, and never have, any more than mountain roads have ever paid for themselves or can pay for themselves.
•  You will have one & only one method to keep our local ferries toll free.  DO NOT BRING IT UP FOR A VOTE.
•  NEVER request a ferry toll.
•  Once you request a toll, you lose control over the process.  FOREVER.  Once you cede this power, DOT can raise tolls annually, remove all exemptions, and delete ferry routes without your permission or approval.
•  DOT has prepared a list of exemptions.  What is granted today can be removed tomorrow. DOT will certainly exempt school buses or emergency vehicles in order to entice your RPO to vote for a toll.
•  You have NO GUARANTEE any proposed exemptions will remain.
•  You have NO GUARANTEE any proposed levels of minimum & maximum tolls will remain.

Below is the complete listing of the February 2014 DOT Public Hearings.  Please attend and encourage other citizens to attend.  Come 30 minutes early, register to speak, and express your opposition to ferry tolls.  Remember, you are really speaking to persuade your local friends and neighbors on the RPO.  Be courteous, respectful, and brief.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions.

Best regards, Henri and Joe McClees
McClees Consulting, Inc.
Post Office Box 430
Oriental, NC 28571
Office (252) 249-1097
Fax (252) 249-3275
www.mccleesconsulting.com
Joe’s mobile (252) 671-1585
Henri’s mobile (252) 671-1559

REVISED NC DOT SCHEDULE of Seven (7) Ferry Toll Public Hearings
Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 7-9 pm
Knotts Island Elementary School
413 Woodleigh Road, Knotts Island, NC

Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 7-9 pm
Beaufort County Community College
5337 Highway 264 East, Washington, NC

Thursday, February 6, 2014, 7-9 pm
Pamlico Community College - Delamar Center
5049 Highway 306 South, Grantsboro, NC

Monday, February 10, 2014 4-7 pm
ILA - Southport
211 W. 10th Street, Southport, NC

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 7-9 pm
Crystal Coast Civic Center
3505 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 7-9 pm
Ocracoke School
120 Schoolhouse Road, Ocracoke, NC

Thursday, February 13, 2014 7-9 pm
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras, NC


January 28, 2014

RALEIGH - The North Carolina Department of Transportation is adding three additional locations to the schedule of public meetings about proposed toll changes on its ferry routes. The additional hearings will be held in Washington, Hatteras, and Morehead City.

The new schedule of public hearings is as follows:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 7-9 p.m.
Knotts Island Elementary School
413 Woodleigh Road
Knotts Island

Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 7-9 p.m.
Beaufort County Community College
5337 Highway 264 East
Washington

Thursday, February 6, 2014, 7-9 p.m.
Pamlico Community College - Delamar Center
5049 Highway 306 South
Grantsboro

Monday, February 10, 2014 7-9 p.m.
ILA - Southport
211 W. 10th Street
Southport

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 7-9 p.m.
Crystal Coast Civic Center
3505 Arendell Street
Morehead City

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 7-9 p.m
Ocracoke School
120 Schoolhouse Road
Ocracoke

Thursday, February 13, 2014 7-9 p.m.
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
59200 Museum Drive
Hatteras

At each of the hearings, a formal presentation will start the meeting. Following the presentation, the meeting will be open for statements, questions, and comments. Anyone wishing to speak should register to do so at the sign-in table prior to the presentation. Please arrive about 30 minutes early to allow time to sign in. Those who cannot attend one of  the meetings may submit written comments to jarobbins@ncdot.gov any time before the end of business February 28..Written comments carry equal weight to verbal comments at the meetings.

In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly mandated that new ferry acquisitions be funded through Strategic Transportation Initiative funding or by revenue-raising initiatives such as tolling, advertising, and concessions. The General Assembly also mandated that all tolling increases be requested by the regional Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs) or Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) before being approved by the Board of Transportation.

In its December meeting, the Board of Transportation approved a tolling methodology which tolls routes by distance travelled and raises approximately five million dollars a year for ferry replacement. This methodology includes the establishment of tolls on the Hatteras-Ocracoke, Currituck-Knotts Island, Bayview-Aurora, and Cherry Branch-Minnesott Beach routes, as well as increases in tolls on the Southport-Fort Fisher, Cedar Island-Ocracoke, and Swan Quarter-Ocracoke routes. The proposed rate changes can be found on NCDOT's Ferry website.

All money collected from tolling will go only toward new ferry vessels. After the public hearings, the RPOs/MPOs will decide whether to accept the toll changes.

For more information about the upcoming meetings, please contact Jamille Robbins, NCDOT - Human Environment Unit at (919) 707-6085 or jarobbins@ncdot.gov.

NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled persons who want to participate in these hearings. Anyone requiring special services should contact Jamille Robbins as soon as possible in order for arrangements to be made.

***NCDOT***



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