SG to fight parking fees

The Student Government Senate unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday opposing the levying of a parking-decal fee on top of the $2 per-credit-hour fee being introduced in the fall semester.

The resolution, which was prompted by the recent increase in price of parking decals, calls upon Parking and Transportation Services to implement a more equitable solution for the levying of parking fees. Student body president Mike Griffin said, although it was too late to change the parking charges being levied this fiscal year, he hoped the resolution would influence future parking fee policies.

The new per-credit-hour fee, which was approved by the Board of Trustees at the end of the fall 2001 semester, will be levied against all students regardless of whether they park on campus or use shuttle services. The anticipated revenue has already been allocated for increased transportation services, such as improvements to shuttle services. Funds from the decal increase have been ear-marked to contribute toward the $13 million to $14 million estimated by Parking and Transportation Services director Greg Sylvester as the cost for the construction of a new parking garage on the south side of the Library. Griffin said the committee of students he appointed in the fall that gave its assent to the per-credit-hour fee had not been appraised of the decal fee increase.

Griffin, who voted against the decal increase at the Board of Trustees meeting on May 16, said he would have voted the same way “10 times over.”

“To implement a new fee and at the same time raise the decal fee – I don’t think that’s smart business,” said Griffin.

At the BOT meeting, Griffin said, he presented an alternative comprising a reduction in decal fees to between $50-$60 in tandem with the per-credit-hour fee. Without a premium attached to parking on campus, Griffin said, there would be no incentive to use shuttle services, with the corollary of gridlock on campus. Griffin said he had been unable to even get his motion seconded.

Student senate vice president Ryan Caruso, who spoke in favor of the resolution, said the addition of the new per-credit-hour fee in the fall meant students purchasing parking decals would be facing two increases in the fall.

“The decal fee, which was $100 last year, has been raised to $105 for this upcoming year. In addition to that (the university) is implementing a $2 per-credit-hour fee, meaning you’d be paying for between 12 to 15 credit hours, somewhere in the ballpark figure of around $165 for the whole year to park on this campus,” said Caruso.

Griffin said a new committee of three students, two from Student Government, would be formed to formulate a new parking levying policy based on the resolution.

“We’re going to take this resolution to a new committee that we’re going to reconvene to basically take what was passed, say that it was wrong, and do it right,” said Griffin. “There’s always the next fiscal year that we can make (parking fees) better.”