2007 football parking

Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp talks to Miles Marks, CEO of the 12th Man Foundation and Joe Powell, CFO of Texas A&M athletics about the changes being made for football parking in 2007.

Over the past two weeks, thousands of 12th Man Foundation donors have received notification of two major changes to the football parking procedures this year.

First, all parking locations will be reallocated this year based on donors' preferences and their 12th Man Foundation's priority points, which were used for the first time last year to allocate all new ticket applications. But the change that catches most people's attention is the $50 fee that will be charged for parking in 2007.

Additional parking fees are nothing new to many 12th Man Foundation donors, who have paid for parking—in addition to their donations—for basketball and baseball in the past. But this is the first time the fee has been charged for football.

The new annual fee for football parking will cover the cost of parking that Transportation Services now charges the 12th Man Foundation (an average of $49.97 per spot depending on location). If the 12th Man Foundation would have absorbed the cost of the parking fees, it would have cost $410,000 in donations—donations that were intended to fund scholarships, programs and facility upgrades—according to 12th Man Foundation Executive Director and CEO Miles Marks.

"I think (the university) stated a good case on why they have to have (the parking fee)," Marks said. "It costs $200,000 to resurface one lot and you've got security people that man the lots coming in and out. They have to raise the cost to help cover a lot of these expenses and it's hard to argue that there's another prime time to park than on a game day."

In addition to covering those expenses, Transportation Services has targeted game day parking as another source of revenue to help the department meet the university's reserve requirements.

A&M athletic department Chief Financial Officer Joe Powell, who recently moved from the university's division of finance to athletics, says that Transportation Services had no choice but to raise parking fees across the board in order to make up a substantial deficiency in reserves and cover operating costs.

"A&M has a policy that your reserve has to include a 90-day working reserve. If you shut down business today, you need reserve for 90 days to maintain," Powell said. "The second rule is they want 115 percent of your debt service requirement. Transportation Services did not meet those two reserve rules, so we either had to significantly increase revenues, significantly cut expenditures, or (find) a combination."

At the end of last fiscal year, Transportation Services was $6 million dollars short of meeting those two reserve goals. At the end of fiscal year 2008 (August 31, 2008), the department will only be $5 million short of its necessary reserve levels thanks to the additional revenue from increased parking rates. But even with the increased rates, the department will not meet the reserve requirements until at least fiscal year 2011.

In fiscal year 2008, the department has budgeted nearly $2 million for repairs and another $1.5 million per year has been budgeted for 2009-2011. In 2010 and 2011 an additional $2.4 million will be needed each year to finance a possible 2000-spot garage that would replace lost parking on campus due to construction.

Because state schools in Texas cannot use state funding for auxiliary programs (like athletics, parking, etc.) the department's only source of income is through permits, special event parking and citations.

That's why Marks said he understands that the new fee is needed for Transportation Services to provide the same services they've provided in the past, but added the 12th Man Foundation cannot absorb the new costs with donations intended for scholarships.

"There's a million different fees that are hitting all of the university departments," Marks said. "The university finally had to say that the people using these services will have to pay for them."

While the $50 is a significant addition to this year's season ticket renewal package, Powell emphasized that 12th Man Foundation donors will pay a cheaper rate for parking on game day than the general public in similar locations.

* West Campus Garage permits have been reduced to the same price as surface lots for students in faculty in an effort to provide a location for faculty and students to park their cars without having to move them on game day. However, if they leave the lot after 6am on the day of the game, they will have to pay to park to avoid the passing of permits from one car to another. The move was also made to try to reduce the number of cars leaving the garage after games, which creates safety issues for pedestrians.

* If you do not purchase parking through the 12th Man Foundation, public lots will be available near the Zachary (shuttle provided) and Wehner buildings for $10 per car ($70 per season) and economy lot parking will be available near the Bush Library for $5 ($35 per season). Public parking will also be available in the West Campus Garage this year for $15 per car ($95 per season).

* In addition to the increase for special event parking, annual parking permits will increase $20-$96 per permit this year (depending on location), with similar increases scheduled each year until at least fiscal year 2011 (August 31, 2010-August 31, 2011).

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