Proposed fee could lead to new garage

Students, faculty and staff at USF may see a new parking garage at the Tampa campus in two years, however, they will have to help pay for the garage if the recommendation for a transportation access fee proposal is approved.

Greg Sylvester, director for Parking and Transportation Services, said the transportation access fee would be a separate addition to tuition fees starting in August 2002 and would be similar to the athletic fee and activity and service fee.

Sylvester said although a fee amount cannot be set for sure without the recommendation, it is needed because PTS is a self-supporting organization and doesn’t receive any state funds. Sylvester said the goal for PTS is to have a parking garage, which could be located behind the library, opened by August 2003.

Sylvester said the transportation fee would help pay for part of the garage, but the first step is getting the recommendation for the fee approved by the transportation access fee committee.

Noreen Segrest, chairwoman for the committee, said the committee has six members – three students and three staff members. It was formed to write a recommendation for the proposal fee and vote on whether the proposal should be passed on for further approval.

Segrest said if a majority vote favors the recommendation then it will be given to President Judy Genshaft for review. Genshaft will then discuss the recommendation with student body president Mike Griffin.

Sylvester said he is a primary source for the transportation access fee, as he can provide it with parking lot space numbers and suggestions from other university transportation fees.

For instance, the University of Florida has fees charged by credit hours, at $2 per credit. While out-of-state colleges such as the University of Arizona have fees charged annually at $112 per year.

“It’s premature to estimate (the cost) right now,” Sylvester said. “But we will need to allocate money for our needs.”

Sylvester said the money received from parking permits and tickets pays for all transportation related services on campus such as shuttles, signs, maintaining parking lots and staff salaries.

Sylvester said the shuttle operation, which costs $1.5 million annually, is paid for directly from parking fees. Parking fees and fines also pay for debt from the parking garage near the Phyllis P. Marshall Center.

Sylvester said PTS will have to pay about $430,000 per year until 2016. Sylvester said the new parking garage will add about 900 spaces to the 17,000 parking spaces on campus.Freshman Deanne Adams said since she doesn’t use the parking or shuttle services because she lives on campus, it is not fair for her to have to pay the fee.

“It is not right to charge students who don’t use it,” Adams said. “But if the bills have to be paid, then I can understand.”Sylvester said if the fees are added to tuition, it will be paid by all students, faculty and staff.

“The plan will be fair to everyone,” Sylvester said. “It’s not just dumped on everyone.”

Sylvester said parking is a “growing pains” issue and there is a certain level of sacrifice everyone will have to make.

Griffin said he appointed three students to the committee, two who are members of SG, based on their dedication and ability to represent the student body’s needs. Griffin said SG advertised general committees in The Oracle to get students interested in joining the transportation access fee committee.

“We wanted to get balanced ideas from outside the Marshall Center,” Griffin said. “SG students are here to represent students, just like regular students.”

Griffin said it is hard to say whether he is for or against the fee without seeing the recommendation.

“Any fees accessed to students, I am going to be critical,” Griffin said. “But I also have to be open-minded.”

Sammy Kalmowicz, SG senate president and student committee member, said the recommendation needs to be voted on by the committee by Monday, and if Genshaft likes the recommendation then she will pass it to the Board of Trustees. If Genshaft does not like the recommendation, then she doesn’t have to give it to the BOT.

Kalmowicz said students will see an immediate impact with increased shuttle services in August 2002 if the fee is approved. Kalmowicz said fees would not be added until that semester. Until then, PTS may borrow money with a bond and then repay it with the money earned from fees.

Kalmowicz said he doesn’t think students will be too upset with fees, but he can understand if they are, especially students who may graduate before they can use the new parking garage services.

“Students here earlier paid for the garage that we use,” Kalmowicz said. “Now we will be making a contribution to pay for what others paid for.”

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