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April 17, 2014

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Airport visitors stuck with higher parking fees

McCarran International Airport visitors diverted to the long-term parking garage will still pay the higher rates, officials said today.

About 800 of the airport's 1,100 short-term metered parking spaces were closed after the federal government prohibited parking 300 feet from the terminal. The directive came as airports reopened Thursday under tightened security after Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

"We would have no way to differentiate," McCarran spokeswoman Hilarie Gray said, referring to the difference between travelers who are on a day trip and those who will be out of town for longer periods of time.

Gray said so far the airport has been able to accommodate all long-term and short-term parking without shuttling travelers to the facility's remote lot.

In long-term parking, there is no charge for someone parking up to 15 minutes; the first hour is $3 and each additional hour is $1. The maximum a motorist can be charged in one day is $10 for 24 hours.

Short-term parking is metered; for each quarter a visitor is allowed 10 minutes. The maximum is three hours for $4.50.

The new federal policy mostly affects those who plan to park briefly to drop a passenger off or pick one up. Visitors who park at the airport for an hour and are forced to long-term will pay twice what they would have paid in the short-term garage.

Travelers who parked in the long-term lot and were stranded in other cities during the attack will be given discounted parking rates when they return, Gray said.

Passengers can still be picked up or dropped off at the airport curb, but vehicles will not be allowed to be idle for more than a minute. After a minute, motorists will be asked to circle the terminal.

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