AFTER FOUR POSTPONEMENTS and countless talk-show jokes, Denver International Airport is set to open on Feb. 28--16 months late and, at $4.2 billion, twice the projected cost. The infamous automated baggage system, which tended to chew up suitbags, is partly working. But the airport will charge airlines $18 per passenger to recoup costs, forcing United Airlines and others to add $20 per ticket. Denverites, promised once upon a time that they wouldn't have to underwrite construction, are furious. Says Colorado Governor Roy Romer, who stumped hard for the new airport: "Had somebody told me that the per-passenger cost was going to be $18, I would not have supported the airport." Ah, hindsight.
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