Eastern University faces a shortage of parking spaces and charges for parking. For nearby parking (e.g., behind the business school), faculty and staff pay $180 per year. Parking in lots Z and B, which are north and south of the campus and involve about a 10-minute walk to the business school, costs $124 per year. In setting these prices, the university seeks to recover the costs of parking and to manage the queue of people wishing to park on campus. The current $180 and $124 fees cover the costs of surface spaces. Lots Z and B have lower fees to compensate people for the longer walks and to encourage them to park in outlying lots. University officials say this fee structure, when multiplied by the number of parking stickers of each type sold, covers the cost of running the parking office and building new spaces.
The cost of providing a parking space consists of costs of construction of the space, maintenance, and security. The construction cost is the annual amount required to repay the cost of grading, draining, and asphalting the space. Maintenance includes snow removal, line painting, fixing the gates after the arms are broken by irate faculty members searching for a space, and patching the asphalt. Security costs include all costs of the parking officers who ticket the cars of staff and students parked illegally.
The university recently evaluated a proposal to construct an enclosed, multifloor parking facility. Design estimates place the construction cost at $12,000 per enclosed space. The equivalent cost of a surface space is $900. The university uses a 10 percent cost of capital. (Assume that this is an appropriate interest rate.) To compensate the university for the cost of the capital involved in building parking garages, parking fees would have to be at least $1,200 per space per year, as opposed to $90 per space per year for the surface space. Because the university does not believe that faculty, staff, and students are willing to pay more than $1,200 per year for a covered parking space, no plans exist to build a parking building.
Critically evaluate Eastern University’s costing of parking permits. What do you think accounts for the university administration’s reluctance to build a parking garage?
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