The North Carolina DOT starts a series of public meetings Monday to get feedback about its plans for Highway 12 and new ferry tolls on the Outer Banks.
The DOT said Monday it would add one departure time to the ferry from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke Island as more over-wash covers Highway 12. The route faces intermittent closures after last week's winter storm flooded the highway.
Meanwhile, the agency hosts a meeting in Manteo to present possible long-term solutions for Highway 12 on Pea Island, where Hurricane Irene cut a channel through the road in 2011. A separate meeting in Raleigh will present a proposal to increase tolls on three ferry routes.
DOT spokeswoman Nicole Meister says the Ferry Division is trying to comply with a mandate from the General Assembly, which says the division has to raise its annual revenue by $5 million.
"We looked at various options on how we could come up with the $5 million through the existing routes that could be tolled," says Meister.
"We're always open to hearing suggestions. That's the whole point of having the meetings, so that people can give suggestions, leave a comment, ask a question in order to hear their thoughts on this."
The new rates would go up to as much as $27 on routes from Swan Quarter and Cedar Island to Ocracoke Island, and add tolls to two others that are currently free. Highway 12 meetings continue Tuesday and Wednesday while the DOT will hold another ferry meeting next Monday near New Bern.