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Parking Rate Proposal FAQ

Why do I need to pay for parking in the first place?
Like all Washington State public universities, and most public universities across the country, our campus Parking and Transportation system is supported by user fees. As a statewide budget policy, this business model is designed to provide financing for current Parking and Transportation services and meet a level of future need, such as capital improvements, maintenance and improved services. As with all major university programs, a certain level of reserves is recommended to ensure fiscal health and respond to contingencies.

Instead of raising rates, is there other funding available to pay for the capital and maintenance items?
No. WSU Parking and Transportation Services is a self-sustaining business unit that must support all its functions through parking revenue generation. Currently, that revenue generation is through user fees.

Will the increase or overall parking permit rates be applied differently based on need or income? Will student, faculty, and/or staff pay different rates?
The proposed parking rate increase is being applied uniformly across all classifications of WSU Parking and Transportation system customers based on a first come, first served system up to the predetermined limits of current parking lot capacities. This is the current governance model on campus.

Why is a multi/three-year rate increase being proposed?

  1. Provides completion of capital and maintenance projects within three years;
  2. Provides necessary funds for current maintenance needs with least impact on permit holders over the three years; and
  3. Results in an acceptable upward trend in the reserve fund balance now to help manage and address future growth.

Will this be the last permit price increase for a long time?
We do not plan to increase rates again prior to 2022. Rates will most likely be reevaluated for the 2022-23 academic year and beyond. Our campus continues to grow with hundreds of more individuals expected to regularly be on campus within five years. As demand for parking space increases, new parking space construction, alternate modes of transportation and/or a change in the current parking governance model will need to be modified.

Why does parking revenue provide for services I do not use?
Not all customers use or benefit from all services provided by Parking and Transportation Services, but all customers share operational costs through its user-fee structure. For example, multiple visitor and event participants pay to park on campus but may not use other provided services.

Why does my parking permit fee pay for Safety and Security staff?
This is an allocated cost justified by services provided to our parking customers. General campus Safety and Security activities and services include multiple lot patrols, vehicle lockout services, jump starts, escorts, crime and accident investigations, camera system operation and maintenance, supervision, and reporting. As a general practice, WSU campuses and other Washington State universities may provide some level of annual Parking and Transportation funding for police and/or Safety and Security services. Campus Safety and Security is only partially funded from WSU Parking and Transportation Services funds. Currently, Parking and Transportation Services is funding 4.0 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff out of a varying active total of 12.0 to 13.0 FTEs.

What Maintenance and Operations costs does my parking permit fee pay for?
You permit fee pays for items such as: snow removal (which can vary widely each year), parking lot maintenance (lot repair, asphalt preservation, landscaping, traffic control devices, painting/striping, irrigation, lighting, electricity, pay stations, signage), mobile and online application services, and internal office costs (e.g. credit card fees, paper/postage, computers, software, supplies, etc.).

It seems that adding an estimated 50 parking spaces for $325,000 is a very high price. Why is it so expensive?
Yes, building parking spaces in an urban area are historically very expensive. Parking garage construction or difficult environments can also increase per-space prices even higher. The $325,000 includes: grading (leveling current land and removing trees and other current landscaping), storm drainage and water quality (including piping and filtration systems), paving, striping, curbing, ADA compliance, surveying, permits, traffic control, mobility (heavy equipment moving), new landscaping, general administration and construction management. Sound or visual barrier concrete walls (blocking visibility and sound of/from the parking lot) may also be required by the City of Spokane. Additionally, overall engineering and architect design costs are an estimated $50,000 for the total $675,000 project work in Green 5.

What alternative modes of transportation are available, being considered or being implemented?
WSU Health Sciences and EWU Spokane currently provides a free bus pass for students, faculty and staff (embedded within current university-issued ID cards). Increased bus service in the heart of campus will be provided by the new Spokane Transit Authority (STA) bus stations installed along E. Spokane Falls Blvd. Additionally, STA plans to provide new express and direct bus routes that will move through the heart of campus rather than passing through or transferring at the downtown plaza. Overall bus service along E. Spokane Falls Blvd. is expected to eventually increase to every six minutes. Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program members are also provided a free guaranteed ride home. Parking and Transportation services provides car and van-pool coordination services.

What’s the difference between buying two semester passes and an annual pass?
Semester parking passes are only good during the academic year. When school is out of session, a semester pass will not be sufficient. For staff and faculty who are on campus year-round, an annual pass is the best option.