The Board of Trustees voted recently to increase the cost of student parking decals by $5. The reason behind the increase is to fund a new 1,200-space parking structure located in either the north or south lots adjacent to the Library. While the parking fee increase sounds like a good idea, it is simply a way for Transportation and Parking Services to get more money in the short term and thrust the university further into debt.
The $5 increase comes on the heels of another new parking access fee that will be added to students’ tuition bills this fall. The access fee will be $2 per credit hour for every student. That means for average USF students taking 12 credit hours in the fall, they will have to pay an extra $24 plus the $105 when they go to purchase their parking decal.
While all students on campus want more parking spaces, throwing money into a bottomless pit only goes to show how ineffective Parking Services has been regarding this matter. The parking garage adjacent to the Special Events Center is still being paid off, and the new parking structure will cost a reported $14.7 million. The increased revenue generated by the new $5 fee will offset this $14.7 million by $150,000. Yeah, that’s it. As for the other $2 per-credit-hour fee, it will be siphoned off to improve other parking services, such as the Bull Runner Shuttle.
Parking and Transportation Services has come under fire in the past, especially this past fall when students were not able to find parking on campus and had to park in grass lots. However, the criticism is well deserved. It is important for a commuter school like USF to understand that its students not only deserve accessible parking spaces but pay well to get them.