Your Village: Where does the revenue from UIHC parking ramps go?

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UIHC parking ramp. — photo by Zak Neumann

After spending several weeks at UIHC and paying outlandish parking prices, I am wondering who owns and receives the revenue from the parking lots? I was told by several medical staff members that it is the University of Iowa Athletic Department and UIHC that receives the parking revenues. Is this true? –- Mitch, Iowa City, via email

“That’s not accurate, but it’s a common myth that’s out there,” said Jim Sayre, director of the University of Iowa Department of Parking and Transportation. “I’m not sure how it started or where it’s coming from.”

The department is responsible for all of UI’s 16,434 parking spaces, including those at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and all the fees and fines go to it. The Iowa Board of Regents requires the parking departments of each of its three universities—UI, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa—to be self-supporting, using the fees and fines it collects to pay for operations, maintenance, and capital improvements with no additional money from the universities or other state funds.

But rumors about shady deals involving parking revenues persist. Sayre said he recently received a phone call from a concerned citizen who heard parking fees were secretly being funneled to the UI Athletics Department to pay for coaches’ salaries.

“We don’t share that revenue with Athletics,” Sayre said. “None of that money is going to coaches’ salaries.”

Parking and Transportation did earmark some funds in its fiscal year 2019 budget for another UI institution—a $5 million contribution to pay for construction of the parking area of the new UI Museum of Art. The contribuation has been placed on hold, since museum construction was halted due to state budget cuts.

The department had $5 million to spend, because it’s very profitable. According to the latest Regents budget report on parking, the department had $9,967,819 in income from operations in FY 2017. The same report projected income from operations of more than $7 million for FY 2018 and more than $8 million for FY 2019.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 248.

Update: This story has been updated since its publication, in order to clarify the nature of the contribution to the UI Museum of Art, and that the figures cited from the Regents report are just income from operations. Anyone interested in more details regarding the budget should click on the link.

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  1. just to be clear. this is the parking on UI campus. this does not include most of the parking downtown, which is run by the city of Iowa City. the parking listed above is the parking the employees/students pay to park as well as the ramps around the hospital that the patients pay to park.

  2. It is frustrating that parking revenues exceed expenses, and demand for employee parking at uihc exceeds supply, but no new parking is built.

    It would be interesting to see if prioritization of parking supply would change if physicians stopped getting preferential treatment and were tossed into the same parking wait lists as everyone else.

  3. If they have that much left over very year, or a “profit” then it should be refunded back to the employees, patients, students etc.. What is even more disturbing is how much more we pay compared to Iowa State or UNI. This is another example of taking advantage of employees, students, patients, taxpayers. I have worked for other government agencies in the state and have never had to pay to park. As a employee and tax payer it is sickening. Also the way they communicate with us is sad; no warnings if you forget to put up your tag….Just a $20 fine. They can’t wait to collect $$ from your paycheck. Also I feel bad for patients at the hospital. Patients up in Madison WI do not pay.
    We are not a very welcoming/inviting campus with such greedy parking policies/practices.

  4. It is disgusting the parking authority has so much extra revenue it agreed to donate $5 million to a new art museum. The operation should bring in just enough to cover operating costs, plus a reserve for future expansion and unexpected maintenance.

    It would be interesting to know what the situation is with dorm fees. I know at one time these were an extra source of revenue, and I would suspect this is still the case, although I have no idea.

  5. I have heard from many people all over the U.S.A. and other countries as well when they come to U.of I. Hospitals “Why do we have to pay for parking to be a patient or visit one?” Apparently, in most other places, sick people and their visitors don’t have to pay to park at other hospitals. I understand the need to fund the parking, but seeing the amount of income, I’ve got to wonder what kind of ethics whomever sets the parking rate has, to ask sick, and possibly dying people and their families to pay so much.

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