Fee increases, no new lots

By: Chelsea Miller

The lack of parking around a college campus is a struggle that most students will encounter at some point in their college careers, and at Minnesota State University, Mankato, the desire for more parking spots has been around for years.

Students are given the opportunity to voice their opinions on this matter at the annual public hearing on parking and transportation policies, capital improvements and budget.

On March 14 at 1 p.m. everyone is welcome to attend this hearing which will take place in the Ostrander auditorium in the Centennial Student Union.

The topic highlighted at this year’s meeting is not about plans for more parking spots, but the proposed permit price increases that will help fund the reconstruction of existing lots.

A hearing, in this case, is a preliminary examination of the actions needed to be taken for next year’s parking budget. Actions have already been proposed and discussed at the meeting of the Parking Advisory Committee which took place February 2, at 1 p.m., but next months public hearing will give the public a chance to review what has been decided before they actually commit.

Four days after the meeting of the PAC, an online copy of the proposal was posted on MSU’s website. This proposal documents the increases which are expected to be seen for the gold, purple, orange, light green, dark green, motorcycle and handicap parking permits. The increases range from $8 to $102, with the average being $41.

This could be seen as incentive to utilize other forms of transportation, such as walking or riding your bike. Anytime a student chooses to walk or even ride the bus, they are helping to decrease the impact cars have on our ecosystem.

Unfortunately, the fee increases do not stop at parking permits. Made available through a separate link on the university’s website, you will find the same proposal but with data on increased bus fare.

This extended version, first available at the February 1 Minnesota State Student Association meeting, notes changes in the fee for route 1 and route 8, as well as the semester U-pass.

For example, it currently costs 50 cents to ride route 1 and $45 for a semester pass. Next year, it may cost 75 cents to ride and $50 to get a semester pass. The University hopes to see more people choosing to ride the bus.

Students may ask, “Why would I go to the annual public hearing if all the information has been made available online?”

The hearing, although appearing to be the last time the proposal will be discussed, is not just for informational purposes. It is an opportunity to voice concerns, or present alternatives that might benefit students.

If a student wants to be a part of this process prior to the hearing in March, it is also possible to have your voice heard at MSSA’s student senate meetings.

The student senate, unlike student governments in high schools, have power over their own budget as well as a say in other budgets like the money spent by the parking and transportation program.

When asked about her knowledge of MSSA’s responsibilities as our student government, junior Cayla Tingelstad said, “Well, I know they are supposed to be like the voice of students.”

An undergraduate class of MSU students were asked the same question about MSSA and the results showed that only one out of 24 students was educated on the topic.

Ashley King, a senior at MSU said, “I honestly don’t know what the student government does, I don’t hear that much about them.”

Attending the annual public hearing is a great opportunity for anyone who is eager to participate in the proposal for next year.

Although, for those students who are looking to really make an impact, the weekly student senate meetings is a great way to stay ahead of the game and make your voice heard.

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