RALEIGH -

Two legislators are pushing for a bill that would remove tolls from Eastern North Carolina ferry routes.

Senate bill 792 was filed Monday, May 19, by Senator Bill Cook and co-sponsored by Senator Norman Sanderson. SB 792 is legislation that would prevent fees from being added to four ferry routes that currently do not have a toll.

“Even if all the ferry routes were tolled, the revenue would not go far in offsetting the significant cost of running and making capital improvements to the ferry system. There are several other alternatives to ferry tolling such as advertising or concession contracts that can generate much revenue,” Cook said.

Tuesday, the bill passed its first reading in the state Senate. The Senate Transportation Committee now will have a look at it.

The ferry debate has gone on for years in the legislature. Coastal communities were majorly opposed to the tolls. There was push from years past to raise $5 million to offset ferry costs.

“Ferry tolls are the same as tolls on bridges. If you are going to toll ferries, you should toll bridges and we are not tolling them so why toll ferries?” Cook said.