Published 8:07 pm Monday, April 16, 2012

It appears the issue of imposing tolls on some ferries that are now free and increasing tolls on other ferries that now charge tolls will take its toll on eastern North Carolina.

Friday, Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office sided with the N.C. General Assembly when he issued a statement. “It is our opinion that the state law as passed by the Legislature must be followed,” Cooper said. “It was the Legislature’s decision to collect tolls and the Legislature has the authority to remove them.”

There likely will be a court battle over the toll issue.

It’s not often we agree with Beaufort County Commissioner Hood Richardson, but we agree with what he said about the tolls Friday.

“I’m disappointed they (the Legislature) were unfair in apportioning tolls where some people had to pay a toll and other people did not have to pay a toll,” Richardson said. “The unfairness is one big issue in this.”

Those opposed to the tolls cite these two factors that should result in the toll law being reconsidered: a flailing economy compounded by a natural disaster, Hurricane Irene. Unlike the rest of the state, eastern North Carolina’s economic recovery has taken place at a slower pace mainly because of Irene, said toll opponents. New tolls would slow recovery even more, they contend.

The Legislature should revisit the toll issue.