Congress OKs Bill to Halt $1 Statue of Liberty Fee

Associated Press

The House, chipping away at the Reagan Administration's new entrance fee program at 72 national parks, Monday approved a Senate-passed bill to rescind the $1 charge at the Statue of Liberty.

The bill, approved on a voice vote, was sent to President Reagan.

Although the Administration has not backed down from the park fees, National Park Service spokesman Duncan Morrow said after the House vote there was "little doubt" that Reagan would sign the bill.

"I think it's highly unlikely that the Administration would want to get into a major struggle over a bill that affects one unit of the national parks," he said.

The House vote was the latest attack on the Park Service plan, announced last December, to impose admission fees at 72 previously free parks, national monuments and other installations, beginning last February.

Under pressure from lawmakers, Interior Secretary Donald P. Hodel said in March that a planned $2 fee at Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park would not be imposed this year, in deference to the celebration of the Constitution's 200th anniversary. Fees at many other parks were delayed while the Administration weighed objections and set up collection systems.

But Hodel refused to waive the Statue of Liberty fee, which began on Feb. 2 as part of a test program for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. Visitors must also pay $3.25 for a private ferry ride to the statue.

In addition to the new fees, the Park Service plan called for entrance charges to be raised at 61 other parks.

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