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Local Hotels Oppose Proposed Fee Increases On Free Airport Shuttles

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The hospitality industry in Northern Virginia is protesting a slew of proposed fees affecting airport shuttle buses.

Those shuttles that take you from Reagan or Dulles Airport to your hotel are free. Free for you, at least. The hotel swallows the costs as a courtesy to its guests. But now the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority is considering increasing the permit fees for hotel shuttles.

The hospitality industry is opposed, complaining that the increase will amount to a cost of $300 per shuttle per month on top of all their other shuttle expenses, potentially costing the industry jobs.

The airports authority says fees need to go up to help cover expenses at the two airports.

"The purpose of the regulations is for appropriate cost recovery for the operations of the airport, particularly for the commercial curbs and lanes that the hotel courtesy vans and taxis utilize," says Chris Paolino, a spokesman for Reagan and Dulles Airports. He says the fees may be painful but are necessary.

Paolino says the airports authority will weigh public feedback before approving the final fees. Dozens of hotel representatives have protested the charges at public hearings. The airports authority is also considering bumping up the dispatch fees charged to taxis at Reagan National.

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