- Associated Press - Saturday, June 13, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina is likely going to sell a ferry boat it bought for $277,000 more than a decade ago and never used for scrap.

The state Department of Transportation still plans to try to sell The Corolla whole for a few more months. But the agency has concluded the boat will never sail across the Currituck Sound as intended and it might be best simply to cut its losses, DOT Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin said.

“It’s time to move on with that boat. I think it’s ridiculous to have a piece of equipment sitting there and just basically rotting away,” Goodwin told the News & Observer of Raleigh (https://bit.ly/1Qv6Z0v ).

Former state Sen. Marc Basnight was instrumental in buying the boat, slipping money into a road maintenance bill as the 2003 legislative session wrapped up. The Dare County Democrat wanted to drastically cut the two-and-a-half hours that about a dozen children in Corolla on the Outer Banks were on the bus to their schools on the mainland in Currituck County.

But the boat never sailed because the water level in the sound was too low and federal officials refused to allow a channel to be dredged.

The state ferry division dug the channel anyway without a permit and two people pleaded guilty to federal charges. The state also had to pay $600,000 to put the mud back in the channel.

State workers have already removed almost all the equipment on the ferry, including two new outboard motors that went to another agency.

“I’ve been on the job for a year, and I’ve been trying to get rid of that boat for a year,” Goodwin said. “We will get some money out of it.”

Meanwhile, there may eventually be a quicker way to get across Currituck Sound. The DOT as approved plans for a 7-mile long $410 million toll bridge, with construction expected to start in 2019 if the money to pay for the bridge can be found.

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Information from: The News & Observer, https://www.newsobserver.com


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