Claiming the current lock-in fee can no longer pay for night and weekend parking for students, Transportation and Parking Services is proposing to raise the undergraduate night and weekend parking lock-in fee on the Spring 2008 election ballot from $3.33 to $5 per quarter.
According to TPS, graduate students are already paying a quarterly $5 fee per student, following a vote by the Graduate Student Association to increase it from $4 to $5 last year. Undergraduate students currently pay a $3.33 quarterly lock-in fee through Associated Students that was initially passed in 2003 to pay for night and weekend parking permits and reaffirmed in last year’s Spring Election.
The Campus Elections Commission met yesterday to discuss this fee as well as the proposed quarterly $40 technology lock-in fee. Both lock-ins, if approved, would appear on the campus-wide ballot and not as A.S. fees. Campus-wide and A.S. lock-in fees differ in the way in which they are filed, whether with the CEC or through A.S.
Facilities Management Department Executive Assistant Wendy Meer said free night and weekend parking cannot continue under the current fee due to debt payments for new parking structures as well as projected operating expenses.
“Funds provided from the lock-in fees are used for both parking operations and debt service payments for the three campus parking structures,” Meer said. “Beginning the fiscal year 2008-09, unless parking rates for other users are increased beyond the amounts currently anticipated, TPS will no longer be able to provide undergraduates with free night and weekend parking for the amount TPS receives [through] A.S.”
Last Spring Quarter, TPS approached the Associated Students Legislative Council and asked for a fee initiative to appear on the A.S. Spring Election ballot. However, council members voted down the proposed measure, citing the need for additional financial information from TPS.
Meer said she spoke on behalf of Campus Design and Facilities Associate Vice Chancellor Marc Fisher, TPS Director Robert Defendini and Planning and Resource Administrative Services Division Manager Robert Silsbee regarding the proposed lock-in fee.
Meer said of the $5 graduate lock-in fee, only $4 actually makes it directly to TPS, with $0.42 going to financial aid and $0.58 to cover shipping and handling expenses of the windshield stickers.
“Graduate students, through the Graduate Student Association, initially requested that TPS provide the option for a lock-in fee when night and weekend parking fees were first contemplated and recommended by the Chancellor’s Special Advisory Committee on Parking in 2002,” Meer said. “Students benefit from the lock-in fee by having the ability to park on campus at night and on weekends without having to pay night or weekend day fees, which increased this year from $2 to $3 per night or weekend day.”
A.S. President Stephanie Brower, who is also a member of the Parking Ratepayer Board, said she is skeptical about the proposal.
“The rationale behind it is everyone who parks on campus needs to pay more in order to offset the cost of the new [parking] structures,” Brower said. “The only problem with this is generally all three of the structures are not accessible to students.”
Brower said UCSB students pay some of the highest lock-in fees in the UC system.
“It seems unfair to me,” Brower said. “Students are paying the same for their permits as staff and faculty, but accessing the parking is different. Since that inequity exists in the system, I don’t think it’s fair to ask students to pay more.”