Rate increase to fund parking construction

by Josh Linehan

Despite a midsummer increase in parking rates, commuters say it’s a small price to pay in order to alleviate campuswide parking problems.
University Parking and Transportation Services raised hourly rates from $1.60 to $1.75. Transportation services officials say the 15 cent increase will generate revenue to fund future parking construction projects.
“We have to raise $85 million, and this increase will enable us to do that,” said Bob Baker, director of parking and transportation.
The 15 cent increase is part of a three-year plan to fund an 85 million dollar project that will include the construction of more ramps for the University.
Proposed ramps are slated for construction on the West Bank, St. Paul campus, behind the University Gateway and at Coffman Union.
Parking and Transportation Services is a completely self-sufficient department and receives no state, federal or University funding. Funding for all construction projects is generated only by parking fees.
“It really doesn’t bother me that much. I hardly notice the 15 cents, but I do hope the money will go toward more parking lots. Additional student parking is badly needed,” said Marwa Hassoun, a senior women’s studies major.
Along with the promise of more parking in the future, Parking and Transportation Services unveiled another change in addition to the increase.
Students can park for free all night at University ramps. All cars entering after 8 p.m. and exiting before 8 a.m. will not be charged. Students may also park free all day on Sunday.
Free parking is available at all campus parking ramps except the transitway lots across from Mariucci Arena.
“It is nice to be able to park at night and on Sundays for free. At least they made an effort to compensate those of us who are supplying the funds for the new ramps, since we probably won’t get to use them,” said Shelley Springob, a senior majoring in Spanish and Portuguese.
The new parking ramps are expected to be completed in three years, without another parking cost increase.