Parking permit revenue should be used effectively



The University once again raised the cost of parking permits on campus. This shouldn’t be news to many students who have already bought their permit for the 2013-14 school year, but most of us already knew the price would increase. Just as tuition increases annually, so do parking permits.

I bought a commuter pass Tuesday and paid $245 for it. For on-campus residents, the cost is $300.

I fluctuate on my position on parking. My first thought is obvious: Permits are too expensive.

The Crimson White reported in January that parking services grossed roughly $7 million annually, with $5 million from permit sales alone.

That’s a lot of money, but the department is self- sufficient, paying for all responsibilities, including road maintenance.

In addition, the department is responsible for building parking lots and decks. That includes the new 750-space parking deck under construction next to Riverside. They work hard to provide students with adequate parking by using the means provided to them to generate revenue.

At the same time, why are they self-sufficient? Why don’t they get money from the state or the University? Tuition just increased again this year, but transportation services will not see any of this money? Why not? If they were budgeted some of this money, then maybe I wouldn’t have to pay so much for a permit – a permit, I might add, that drastically surpasses the $60 price tag of the parking permit my brother purchased at Auburn University.

But transportation services shouldn’t be let off the hook because they have to pay their own way. If we as students are paying such a significant amount of money, I want to know that they are using it properly. I want to know that they aren’t wasting it.

For instance, is a 2013 Ford F-150 crew cab with a long bed really necessary for ticket issuers? Why wouldn’t a 2005 F-150 work? Why do you need a truck for one person? Why don’t you drive a Prius? Or a golf cart? A golf cart would work just fine for someone whose job is to drive around and make frequent stops to issue a ticket. Maybe they wouldn’t have to issue as many tickets if it didn’t cost them a fortune to keep fuel in that truck.

Also, if you haven’t noticed, the department has been working to repaint what appears to be every single line on campus. I am constantly seeing roads or sections of parking lots closed off so the University’s little paint cart can repaint a slightly off-white line to be a shiny, bright white. I know it’s a small detail compared to the other millions invested within the department, but is it necessary? Every dollar counts, and I would imagine more than a few dollars are going toward this project.

Having complained about the department like every student on campus, I feel that it is also important to consider how lucky we are.

Auburn’s cheap parking permits come at a cost. During his freshman year, my brother’s car was parked roughly one mile from his dorm. During football weekends, he had to move his car even farther away or else it would be towed. My car was parked across the street my freshman year. Plus, our university allowed me to have a car my freshman year. That’s more than many can say.

Chris D’Esposito, the assistant director of transportation services, tells The Crimson White on a regular basis that parking is adequate for the number of students on campus. I believe him because I’ve checked. He does say, however, that parking might not be where we want it to be, but there is parking on campus.

We give the University a lot of money. That’s obvious, but it’s not going to change. As long as I’m a student at this university, I’m going to have to pay whatever they want me to pay. I just want to know that it is being used effectively.

Mackenzie Brown is the Online Editor of The Crimson White.

 

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