Parking fees may fund Route 52

by Lynne Kozarek

Commuters might soon have increased incentive for riding the recently saved Route 52 buses as the University’s Parking and Transportation Services hopes to raise the fee for on-campus parking, beginning this summer.
In a meeting late Tuesday afternoon with the University’s Senate committee on finance and planning, Parking and Transportation Services presented a proposal to raise parking fees, which will be used to fund Route 52.
The budget for 1997-98 was set under the assumption that the service would be canceled as of July 1. The April decision to continue Route 52 services, at least for a year, left a $350,000 shortage in their budget. Transit officials are hoping the money to continue the service will come from the proposed raise in parking rates.
Dennis Miller, assistant director of finance for Parking and Transportation Services, said three different rate plans were included in the proposal, which was essentially a rough draft.
Paul Tschida, assistant vice president of the University’s department of Health, Safety and Transportation, said the presentation was simply an overview of the transit budget. However, the odds of the proposal’s success are in doubt.
“Basically, we showed them the budget based on a 2.5 and 5 percent increase in parking fees,” Tschida said. “We’d obviously like 5 percent, but the committee would rather see a zero percent increase.”
The committee will soon make a recommendation to senior vice president of finance and operations JoAnne Jackson, who will decide within the next few weeks if the parking increase will take effect.
“We just presented what the revenue, expenses and capital look like,” Miller said. “I can’t say how the committee’s decision will go.”
If fees are increased, the changes in contract parking and hourly rates would take place separately. Hourly rates would change July 1 and contract rates would be raised October 1.
Should the fee hike not be approved, Parking and Transportation Services will be forced to find another source for the $350,000 to operate Route 52 for another year. Where that money will come from is up in the air, said Cari Hatcher, public relations representative for Parking and Transportation Services.
Hatcher added that everyone involved in the Route 52 debate is anxiously awaiting its conclusion.
“I know this is taking a long time, and we’re frustrated,” she said. “This will be resolved sometime in the next month.”