In the wake of a proposal to increase the state’s beach parking fees — and with the support of House leadership — Rep. Grace Diaz (D – Dist. 11, Providence) has introduced legislation that would guarantee the rates remain the same for the next three seasons.

Parking fees were substantially increased in 2011. In 2016, the General Assembly rolled back the fees to the pre-2011 rates.

“It’s only been two full seasons since we rolled back those fees,” said Representative Diaz. “Increasing them now would present a tremendous hardship to low-income residents throughout the state — many of whom cannot afford air-conditioning — and rely on the state’s beaches for summer recreation and cooling off. The last thing we want is to keep people from enjoying the state’s beaches, simply because they cannot afford it.”

Last week, the Department of Environmental Management announced plans to raise the parking fees by 33 percent.

“In 2016, we lowered the beach fees to the current rate, and I believe it is too soon to raise them,” said Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston). “As the Ocean State, our beaches are one of our greatest assets and we need to keep the fees affordable for families to continue to enjoy. Representative Diaz, a member of the House Finance Committee, is submitting this bill and the House is working collaboratively with the Senate on this important issue to ensure the fees remain in place through 2021.”

Current beach parking fees for state residents are $6 for weekdays, $7 for weekends and holidays, $3 for resident seniors (65 or older) on weekdays, $3.50 for resident seniors on weekends and holidays. Season passes per vehicle are resident, $30; resident senior, $15.

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