Ferries are important modes of transportation for many of our state’s coastal residents. The NCDOT ferry division has been overseeing these ferry operations for years. Now, here come the honorables on Jones Street — namely, Senator Bill Rabon of Southport — creating whole new state government agencies for the purpose of managing the state’s ferry system.
The legislation does a number of things:
- Allows for the creation of a local / regional ferry authority to be overseen by the governing body of each county or municipality that has a terminal for a ferry; every locale that has a ferry gets an authority;
- Each authority gets an eleven-member board consisting of: (1) the mayor and mayor pro tem of the municipality only accessible by water, (2) appointments from the General Assembly, (3) an appointee by the NCDOT secretary, and (4) the county commissioners of the counties served by each ferry
- Each authority is, of course, eligible for government funding and access to government property (AND they can hire staff!)
- Each authority can grant franchises for things like taxi service, concessions, etc.;
- Each authority gets their own personal certified police force
- Each authority can also exercise eminent domain for the purposes of acquiring property