Some MU Faculty Council members are upset about an impending increase in campus parking rates for employees and students and want to see more discussion about it.
On April 5, MU Parking and Transportation announced a rate increase over the next three years to be based on employee income.
Right now, employees generally pay $18 a month for a space in a surface lot and $21 for one in a parking structure. Starting in the fall, the monthly cost will increase between $1.25 and $11.25 for surface lots and between $1.50 and $13 for a garage spot based on salary.
By the third year, the rates will have gone up between $3.75 and $33.75 for surface lots and between $4.50 and $25.50 for garages.
Students will pay the same rates as employees in the lowest salary tier will, starting with $1.25 or $1.50 more in the fall per month depending on where they park.
At the Faculty Council meeting Thursday, members heard about the changes from Heath Immel, director of Parking and Transportation, and Gary Ward, MU vice chancellor for operations. The increased revenue is needed to pay for maintenance, which they estimated at $26 million for the seven garages on campus.
Immel said there hasn’t been a rate increase in 14 years. He said that by spreading out the increases over three years, Parking and Transportation will be able to address the majority of current deferred maintenance work in 10 years.
Council members challenged the timing and the amount of the increases.
“This pandemic has thrown us all economically for a loop,” April Langley said. “It seems to me that now is not the time to double the amount that one is spending on parking when one has no other choice, nowhere else to park, when one comes to work.”
Robin Rotman said the revenue shortfall is being balanced on the backs of the employees.
“I think students have the most choice when it comes to transportation and parking because they could choose to live on campus, live in one of the many private accommodations that offer shuttle services, or they could live within walking distance of the campus,” Rotman said. “There aren’t so many residential options for faculty and staff in that vicinity.”
Langley suggested the increases be spread out over a longer timeline.
In the end, Faculty Council chair John Middleton asked Peter Wilden, chair of the council’s Fiscal Affairs Committee, to meet with the committee then with Immel and Ward.
MU has 12,000 spaces in more than 60 surface parking lots, 9,000 spaces in the seven garages and 430 metered spaces, according to the presentation. There are about 19,000 permit holder spots.
Immel said that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1,600 faculty and staff members have canceled their parking permits, making it hard to maintain revenue for needed maintenance.