Fishermen and other recreational boaters have nearly succeeded in persuading legislators to roll back restrictions on hauling wide boat trailers on state roads. A spokesman for Gov. Mike Easley warned today that they could lose it all if they push too far.
Until Franklin Freeman spoke up as the House Finance Committee debated Senate Bill 1695, there was little opposition in either chamber to a group of similar bills that would give North Carolina the most relaxed safety standards for wide boat trailers of any southeastern state.
The Highway Patrol has warned that wide boats would cause more crashes on narrow roads at night. None of our neighbor states allows nighttime hauling of boats as wide as 10 feet on roads with travel lanes usually narrower than 9.5 feet.
Easley will sign the legislation if the nighttime provision is removed, but he is likely to veto it otherwise, Freeman said.
"That's a tactical decision for you all to make," he told the House Finance Committee. "If you want to give the boaters at least half a loaf, you should vote against" an amendment that would thwart the push for a night-time ban on towing wide boats.
"If you want to let the boaters take a chance and roll the dice -- all or nothing -- then vote for the amendment," Freeman said.