Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hatteras Ferry

Residents and visitors to Ocracoke Island can thank State Representative Tim Spear (D-Washington, NC) for the following news, as reported by the Associated Press:

"FREE FERRY: The state's ferry from Ocracoke Island to Hatteras Island would remain free thanks to an amendment approved by the House Appropriations Committee. The House budget proposal had directed the Board of Transportation to begin tolling the four ferry routes that currently don't charge a fee. Amendment sponsor Rep. Tim Spear, D-Washington, said Ocracoke residents depend on the ferry since they have no other way to get off the island and shouldn't be charged to leave for the mainland."

So far, so good. If anything changes, we'll be sure to let our readers know.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a history of the Ocracoke Preservation Society. You can read it here:


  1. bill kostar7:56 AM

    It also took a great effort on the part of island residents and others to bring the facts of the issue to the attention of the legislature. A good example of the importance of citizen action.
    Congratulations to all!

  2. Anonymous10:35 AM

    I'm happy the residents of Ocracoke will not have to pay to take the Hatteras/Ocracoke ferry. You folks should have never been in the discussion. However, I still believe tourists (like myself) would have been willing to pay a few dollars to help with the rising ferry boat transportation costs.

    Perhaps a locked donation box (like the one @ the OPS museum) could be installed for those tourists who wish to contribute towards the ferry ride expenses. Just a suggestion....

  3. Anonymous11:07 AM

    Take responsibility!!!! what is wrong with a fee for service????. I do not get to ride the bus for free where I live --- OI is not Walt Disney World free monorail ride free shuttle are things really free????. If the gov is paying somebody in Mt Airy that never set foot on OI is somehow paying Birmingham Al was on the verge of bankruptcy New orleans had a poverty rate of 33% pre katrina cities all over the US have crumbling infrastructure bridges under construction collapses in St paul MN --- Tourists wishing to contribute ! TOURISTS!!!! why not residents -- u directly benefit bringing the tourists to your rental units and resturants U USE U Pay no free lunch ----- but this is America land of Government handouts ---- sounds like socialism to me

  4. If I am not mistaken, most of the roads and highways you use are not toll roads. They are part of state transportation are most bridges. In NC the ferries are part of the Dept. of Transportation's infrastructure. Every time I purchase gasoline I am helping to maintain roads in Mt. Airy and other parts of the state where I may never visit. I wonder how folks would feel if residents and customers to their towns were required to pay tolls to enter and leave their municipality, with no other option. Just a thought.

  5. Anonymous12:24 PM

    And, a good thought, Philip!

    From Anon #2

  6. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Oops! A good thought....from Anon #1, not #2. :) My mistake.

  7. Anonymous12:42 PM

    Ya know what they say about opinions... Anon #2, If you don't really know what you are talking about, it's probably a good idea to keep your thoughts to yourself.. Didn't anyone ever teach you that?? Hmm... On another note, Good fight Ocracoke and Tim Spears! Let's hope it makes it all the way through!!

  8. Anonymous8:59 PM

    I'm sorry I do not consider a ferry service a toll road. However most toll roads if a bridge, are certainly more expensive to maintain then a simple two lane highway . National parks have an entrance fee, state parks have an entrance fee, for those who use the facility. A turnpike in florida has a sunpass for frequent users as does the Mouseland --had an annual pass for Florida residents. Bottom line ,the special features required a fee. Also, a simple visit to the NC dept of revenue web site mentions a 3.7 billion dollar revenue SHORTFALL--- the state sales tax ,the personal income tax, and the corporate tax program is not generating the monies to provide all that is Wanted. 3.7 billion dollar shortfall and some want to continue free ferry service. Now that there is a shortfall perhaps it is time to Pony up and help pay for the fuel surcharge most business are instituting as fuel prices are not what they once were. How can people demand to have a free ride when it was possible before but now a 3.7 billion dollar shortfall makes me think there are some who do not want to pay their Fare share.

  9. Anonymous9:19 PM

    I'm glad the bill was passed so no one has to pay to use the ferry, esp the locals. But you can't say you locals can ride free but you visitors/tourists have to pay. The visitors bring plenty of revenue to the island. The Great Smokies National Park does NOT make you pay an entrance fee. It's free for all to use and enjoy. I know...we live in the back door. Thanks to all who helped keep the ferry free!

  10. Anonymous7:48 AM

    the smokie mountain national park is the only one of the national parks that does not charge an entrance fee. This is true-- but there is the annual pass and why would the Golden eagle pass exist but for the fact Other parks charge charge entrance fees????? Perhaps it is rooted in the manner in which the park was created have you read that story?? lands were "obtained" for the park in a manner that well er, and the entrance is in the Cherokee nation How can people overlook the fact that are most precious within our national parks are being overused. The bathrooms near the Wshington monument are a disgrace the vandalism that I saw back in 2005 was shocking. There is a certain psychology about paying for something the person shelling out some cash has a different attitude toward the item or service. I would challenge those that support a free ferry ride to dig up some numbers about the actual costs to run the service -- the captain of the ferry does not work for free --the pilot license was not free the fuel is not free, what are the true costs and who really does pay??

  11. Anonymous8:07 AM

    Okay the Staten island ferry is free the best tourist activity value. Perhaps the transportation stimulus money from the Federal Government had something to do with this. How much stimulus transportation money was sent to dare county or the OI region? and how was that money "allocated" Okay it is free this year but how is this sustainable? Who will create a Friends of the ferry organization to stay mobilized and lobby for continued free rides to the island. When will the service become privatized? This is no doubt a possibility unless the county gets involved

  12. Anonymous8:23 AM

    Anonymous says, "...the captain of the ferry does not work for free --the pilot license was not free the fuel is not free, what are the true costs and who really does pay??"

    These are legitimate questions, but similar questions could be asked about roads and bridges anywhere in the state: "the architects of our roads and bridges do not work for free, the construction and maintenance crews do not work for free, our traffic lights are not installed for free, highway patrolmen do not work for free, etc., etc. What are the true costs and who really does pay for our transportation infrastucture??"

    I think it might be gasoline taxes.

  13. Anonymous8:45 AM

    This notion that the true costs are hidden is absurd. The North carolina department of transportation should educate the riders of the free ferry that the operational costs are XYZ the cost per rider is ABC. The sign posted should state this service is paid for by DEF. Annual operational costs budgeted for fuel and salaries and upkeep and insurance should be stated just like McDonalds has to tell us the caloric values of the meals-- why not post the true operational costs of a service provided by the state $4U

  14. Anonymous8:49 AM

    The highway system in the USA is also to mobilize the military how many highways connect military bases?

  15. Anonymous6:17 PM

    It is the Golden Age Passport and it exists to give citizens 62 yrs and older and their families a 50% discount to campgrounds, recreation sites, and other facilities which charge fees, and parks that do charge entrance fees. A passport for our senior citizens to enjoy! There is a small one time charge for this pass.

  16. Anonymous8:43 PM

    Let us get our facts straight --i being under the age of 62, should i elect to purchase an America the beautiful annual pass it would cost me 80 bucks --- were I 62 i would spend 10 bucks for the golden age deal. Can u see a 62 year old pitching a tent no --can you see a 62 year old driving a big mobile home 5th wheel towing a huge airstream type of hotel roomish thing to not rough it-- er yeah I do all the time in Florida. shudder. they drive golf carts on the roads too. double shudder . but the existence of a national site on the outer banks perhaps contributes to the "necessity " of a free ferry ride. This pass deal just shows the middle income earners and middle age-ers are shouldering the brunt of the handouts er senior discounts. If some senior citizens were less demanding and less vocal about being entitled to government services ---now their complaining will fall on deaf ears unless they complain in a foreign tongue  .

  17. Anonymous9:41 PM

    North Carolina has a law and case law to support the statute that every citizen has a right to free access to their home. The residents of Ocracoke do not have an alternative route therefore they have a right to share in the rights of the other citizens of North Carolina. If the law were revoked, then every road in North Carolina could be tolled to reflect actual costs. Would that be more fair then the system we have now?

  18. Anonymous6:07 AM

    Wow! What a debate!

  19. Anonymous3:04 PM

    It doesn't have to be a tent or a 5th wheeler! There is a happy medium and there are PLENTY of 62 yr old and older citizens that use them in NC!!!Maybe you've never visited WNC.....Anyway....Free ferry for all:)

  20. Anonymous5:24 PM

    Speak for yourself, o ye of under the 62 mark. Where did you get off to say 62 year olds can't pitch a tent. What century are you from? 62 year olds are bright, healthy, ecologically minded, yoga teaching adults. Your opinions are of naught.

  21. Anonymous6:38 AM

    Dear Anon.(under 62)...I realize some prejudices are difficult to overcome, but I assure WILL get over this one!

  22. Anonymous11:01 AM

    age discrimination = senior discounts why does an age dictate a discount why do others have to pay more because they are younger? To think this is a class less society is not true. How many offered the discount decline? how many 62 year olds would say no I will pay the 80 dollars not the 10 dollars ten vs 80 dollars that is a vast difference. also, the Ferry division most recent budget figures are $41,589,218. Lets not get off topic budget shortfalls exist because all the free things ---which cost money what is free for one person someone else is paying for it somehow some way. And not to state this free ride is being paid for by xyz be it gasoline taxes sales tax or whatever revenues generated are coming out of someone's pocket--- Oh and to all those actual senior citizens that don't mind sleeping in tents and going green and reduce their carbon impacts on a daily basis by recycling and walking or riding a bike I say God Bless America

  23. Anonymous3:31 PM

    That was really hard to read..................

  24. Anonymous7:13 PM

    That was impossible to read.

  25. Anonymous11:38 AM

    Impossible to read-- impossible but true to Question. Why do advertisers have to offer discounts to shoppers based on age???. Why does the movie theater offer discounts to AARP card holders???? How many 62 year olds would rather than paying the ten dollar golden age pass opt to by the Everyman(Younger) annual pass called America the Beautiful which is an 80 dollar annual pass????. And ----If the North Carolina Ferry Division has a budget of $41,589,218 which includes an unknown amount to allow for Free Hatteras Ferry rides the question is how much of this contributes to the projected $3.7 billion dollar shortfall? The greatest generation has so many perks and golf courses to choose from they have such a wonderful life. The free ferry is symbolic of enabling a lifestyle ---so few have the wear -with-all to enjoy ==and perhaps the vast population that contributes to the freebies should wake up and start voting too

  26. debbie s.7:08 PM

    i am so staying out of this one.

    Yay for ocracoke and yay for the rep and residents who had the knowledge and intelligence to alert others to the fact that our own states laws require at least ONE FREE 'road or access point' into a town.

    i wont be back to see what else is said, i have enough stress in my life without trying to decipher jibberish.

  27. Anonymous2:13 AM

    A M E N

  28. Anonymous7:52 AM

    I SO agree with the 2 posts above. Once you reach a certain age, I think you are entitled to a few perks, especially discounts. Evidently, you don't have any senior citizens in your group of family and friends. BTW, have you ever heard of a comma??? Ride a FREE FERRY to get home!!!

  29. Anonymous11:08 AM

    Jump on in the water is fine. Come down to the Villages visit Why is anyone Entitled to perks? Why is age an entitlement? When was the last time you diagramed a sentence? It is the empy nesters that cut teacher salaries and de emphasis the Engrish language the school taxes they d not want to payto edumacate sumbuddys eleses chidren. Gated communities of active senior citizens fearful coupon fisted theres a five o clock all you can eat buffet somewhere society

  30. Anonymous11:40 AM

    Free access does not mean at least one ferry service will not charge fares. If this were the case why do you have to thank a rep in the legislature to introduce an amendment for something that all ready existed in state statutes??????? Could it be that there was no such thing to begin with --- I waited this long to post the OBVIOUS. Unfettered access to a beach and failing to rent a boat to get to OI on your own accord is a completely different matter.

  31. Anonymous1:15 PM

    The horse is dead-bury it!

  32. Anonymous3:24 AM

    No ,,,,,,,Bin laden be dead.

  33. Anonymous11:50 PM

    I get it! A conspiracy theory!!!

  34. Anonymous10:29 AM

    Oh good someone willing to follow older er, senior posts. If one were to research the history of the ferry department the original ferry services in NC were independent operators ....-- owner operator buinesses ---- before the state government-- big brother/ stepped into the picture..... The first ferry rides were purchased by the rider. then the state stepped in to underwrite/subsidize the fares. we pay farmers not to grow crops, we give away government cheese, whats a free ferry ride to some of the priciest real estate in the state of North carolina??? The state buys a start up company puts an entrepreneur out of business puts someone else on the governemt payroll to down the road contribute to a 3.7 billion dollar projected budget shortfall. Have you connected the freak-o--nomics of the dots yet???

  35. Anonymous10:37 AM

    my goodness, why do so many comments lack hard facts to back up their opinion? Please state the statute, and cite the number so I can read it. no one has quoted the law, only alluded to its existence.