UNM: Free parking not a viable option in future

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A letter submitted in the University of New Mexico’s newspaper suggested free on campus parking for students; some say that’s not even an option.

ASUNM Senators Brad Sedillo and Delia Brennan responded to the letter saying free parking isn’t a good idea. But there’s some students who say with the rising costs in tuition; parking should be included.

“I looked at the cost of a permit and tried to figure out how many hours I was going to have to work in order to pay off the bill,” Maria Ortega said.

“It’s been a financial struggle,” Eden Santistevan said. “Tuition is so expensive, buying books is so expensive then there’s parking and having to pay so much and parking so far away.”

Director of Parking & Transportation, Barbara Morck, said free parking isn’t viable for the university.

“The sale of permits and the sale of the pay station parking, all of that is what provides the funding for all the services that we provide,” Morck said.

According to Morck, last year the department had a nearly $8 million budget.

“That includes the transportation services. We pay for the buses, we pay for the fuel, we pay for the maintenance and we pay for the drivers,” Morck said.

And don’t forget about the maintenance of the parking lots and parking structures.

“If parking was a free for all, more and more people would be incentivized to drive to campus,” Sedillo said “It would make parking even less suitable because there would be more people trying to park here.”

Sedillo said they decided to respond to the letter in the DailyLobo so that students could get a clearer picture of all the expenses Parking & Transportation have and that the workers aren’t just out to “get students.”

Parking permits run anywhere from $175 to $500 a year. The parking structures charge by the half hour. Morck says the department is looking into building a fourth parking structure. No word yet on when that could happen.

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