NOTE: This story has been updated for clarity regarding the Galilee fee hikes and total revenue.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Rhode Islanders and tourists alike could see significantly higher parking fees at one of the state’s most popular beaches if Gov. Dan McKee’s newly-released budget plan becomes law.
The proposed price hikes are part of the plan that McKee proposed on Thursday for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. The governor is proposing to raise the parking fees at Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly, as well as the Port of Galilee in Narragansett which houses the Block Island Ferry terminus.
The vast majority of the parking fees for Misquamicut State Beach will more than double under McKee’s plan. Most notably, a resident weekend pass would increase from $7 to $15 and a non-resident pass would go from $14 to $30.
While daily weekday parking at Galilee will remain $10, daily weekend parking will increase to $15.
The fee increases are expected to generate $621,634 which will go toward operating costs and four new full-time hires: a maintenance technician, a plumber, a clerk, and a civil engineer, according to DEM spokesperson Mike Healey. He also said $200,000 of that revenue will go to the town of Westerly as required by law.
Rhode Island’s parks and beaches “provide a multitude of economic benefits to small businesses and local residents in their host communities, and provide top-quality recreational opportunities,” budget officials noted.
It’s unclear how many of McKee’s proposals will become law, since the budget plan includes none of the money Rhode Island will receive under President Biden’s newly signed $1.9 trillion relief plan. The measure is expected to provide over $1 billion in direct aid to Rhode Island’s state government.
Lawmakers are expected to begin hearings on McKee’s plan shortly, with final passage of a budget bill expected by June.
Ted Nesi contributed to this report.