Where Transportation Services spends parking revenue

From The Battalion

By Travis Lawson

Published: Monday, September 28, 2009

The parking sector of Transportation Services at Texas A&M University brings in approximately $13 million a year between parking permits and violations. Transportation Services assures students that not a dollar is wasted.

Executive Director of Transportation Services Rodney Weis said the budget for fiscal year 2009 is $11,192,022 and is going into a parking account, which is used to maintain garages and pay for traffic enforcement.

"The funds go to paying debt service, operating costs and capital improvement to surface lots and garages," Weis said. "Violation and fines is held in the same parking account and funds, to a large extent, the enforcement and traffic cost to the department."

Since 1988, Transportation Services has borrowed close to $77.63 million for capital improvements on the campus garages and pedestrian passageways. Nearly half of the revenue generated every year goes into paying debt services.

Garages and other facilities were built with about $6.5 million a year. Repairs and renovations will add approximately $3.5 million in the 2010 fiscal year said Weis.

Parking permit prices have more than doubled since the 1990s and with new buildings and renovations eating up parking space, Transportation Services does not see the trend changing anytime soon.

According to the Transportation Service's Web site, the steady rise in parking permit prices "is attributed to parking garage construction and increased operating costs associated with the garages."

The largest selling parking passes are the surface lots, which consist mostly of students. Surface lots brought in $4,876,608 in 2009, more than one third of the overall budget.

According to the Associate Director of Transportation Services at A&M Peter Lange, more students chose West Campus Garage this year in comparison to previous years. Lange also said that record enrollment this year did not cause a need for additional parking.

"There is adequate space at this time. No changes," Lange said. "We have capacity on West Campus to accommodate the increase (in students)."

Weis did note a loss of surface parking, which affects mainly students. Transportation Services says a problem does not yet exist with the growing number of students, but more with the growing number of buildings popping up on campus.

"Loss of surface parking lots and the continued infill development on campus will have a profound effect on parking rates in the future," Weis said.

Student Body President Kolin Loveless also sees a problem with parking, and said there is just too much being built for parking to keep up. Loveless said that while parking here is better than at most universities, there are still aspects that can be approved upon.

"I used to park in lot 50. Right now there is a big engineering building going up where I used to park," Loveless said. "At the end of the day, people are noticing this is becoming an issue."