HIKED Logan Air Parking Fees Along with GASTAX in Massachusetts
The governor's gas tax proposal for transportation restructuring has been presented as the alternative to fee hikes. However it appears that in the background fees are being raised in concert with the gas tax being publicized.
Without a hearing or public notice, Massport raised the parking rates an average of 7.7 percent - which translates, for most motorists, to an extra $1 every time they use the garage. The per-day rate remains the same at $24 per day. The new rates, which went into effect Feb. 1, are expected to bring in $1 million more in revenue.
This rate hike impacts families and friends of those that are traveling as well as quick turn around commuters. The per-day rate is remaining the same while the hourly rate is changing.
The state agency that runs Logan International Airport has responded to plummeting revenues at its garages by raising the parking fees it charges, even while keeping its 75-member garage staff at full strength and awarding one of its unions a 7.5 percent pay increase over two years.
Personally, I am having to take a pay cut, while I know many other people in my neighborhood or family or friends, who are part of a lay-off. To ask Massachusetts residents and travelers to pay more so that airport garage staff can get a pay increase will not be sit well with those of us who have had to reduce our income.
The new rates firmly position Logan at the top of the parking price list among comparable national airports. To park for up to 3 hours at Logan is now $16; at LaGuardia in New York, $12; at Los Angeles International, $11; at Chicago's O'Hare, $4; and at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International, $4, according to airport websites. At the regional T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I., it would cost $9.
Parking revenue accounts for almost 25 percent of Massport's revenue, while tolls on the Tobin Bridge, landing fees, and rents of its facilities account for the remainder. Massport receives no direct state tax dollars.
I makes sense financially that a different funding model would be more appropriate than increasing dependencies on parking fees. This rate hike is going to result in travelers rethinking their transportation method to the airport or their airport of choice.
The Massport board of directors never voted directly on the $1 increase in rates. Instead, the board voted on Nov. 20 to give Thomas Kinton Jr., Massport's executive director, and other managers the authority to "adjust" parking rates "if market demand and price tolerance dictates,"
Nowhere in the meeting agenda or the minutes is the word "increase" used. According to the minutes, the unanimous vote of the board to allow managers to "adjust" rates came without discussion from board members, including James Aloisi, who has since become Governor Deval Patrick's secretary of transportation. Aloisi, through a spokesman, declined to comment.
The rates push the fees for 30 minutes or less from $3 to $4; for 31 minutes to one hour from $6 to $7; for one hour to 90 minutes from $9 to $10; for 91 minutes to two hours from $12 to $13; for two hours to three hours from $15 to $16; and for three hours to four hours from $18 to $19.
For those who leave their automobiles more than 24 hours, the one day rate remains $24.
The recession has cut deeply into air travel. The number of passengers flying out of Logan declined by 7.1 percent in 2008, compared to 2007, according to Massport, which operates the airport, the port of Boston, and the Tobin Bridge.
The downward slide continued last month, with parking revenues off 10 percent, or almost $800,000 for the month.
It is common sense that the increase will reduce the customer base and the decision to drive to the airport with someone's personal vehicle and park it at Logan, even more.
At the Massport board of directors meeting in January, Kinton predicted monthly declines in passengers of 5 percent to 6 percent for much of 2009.
With the increased gax tax for personal motor vehicles on top of the cost to park at Logan the choice will be another airport or another mode of transportation to the airport. This should result in even more of a reduction in revenue longer term .