Frequently Asked Questions

Why isn't parking free?

PSU Transportation & Parking Services (TAPS) is self-supported, which means we receive no state or tuition funding. We pay for parking operations, maintenance, labor, transit pass subsidies, and bicycle parking through parking permit and parking citation revenue. With high numbers of students, employees, and visitors coming to campus each day, charging for parking permits and enforcing regulations is essential in managing demand for parking facilities on campus. Setting permit rates near market prices is part of our transportation demand management strategy. In order to reduce demand for vehicle parking facilities (and avoid the high cost of building new parking), we also subsidize transit passes, install bike parking, and support the PSU Bike Hub. By encouraging students, employees, and visitors to travel to campus by means other than driving, it ensures there is parking available for those who need to drive to campus.

How are parking rates determined?

Parking rates are set based on demand, location on campus, duration or type of permit, and the rates in nearby non-PSU garages. Generally, rates in the center of campus (i.e. Parking Structure 1) and other high demand locations are the most expensive. Garages on the edge of campus (Parking Structure 3) are less expensive. In addition to evaluating current and historical demand, we also consider the results of an annual market study of parking rates within three blocks of campus when setting rates. Rates for student and employee permits are significantly lower than market rates for garages near PSU, however rates to pay by the hour or day in PSU facilities are similar to the private market. The market study is conducted by the Campus Planning Office.

How is the money we collect spent?

The chart and explanations of each type of expense below show how TAPS revenue is spent each year.

TAPS 2014-2015 Net Revenue

The chart below shows the Transportation and Parking Services net revenue from the 2014-2015 fiscal year. 

FY15 Total Revenue:


  • Student Parking Permit Sales: $3,179,217
  • Hourly & Daily Parking Sales: $2,373,529
  • Employee Permit Sales: $1,221,420
  • Tenant Parking and Other Sales: $1,086,007
  • Parking Citation Revenue: $315,242
  • Transit Pass Sales: $600,842
  • Department & Event Permit Sales: $235,626
TAPS FY14-15 revenue graph

As the chart shows, the majority of TAPS revenue comes from the sale of parking permits, including student, employee, building tenant (public monthly parking permits), guest and event, and hourly/daily permits.

TAPS 2014-2015 Expenses

FY15 Total Expenses:


  • Debt: $1,810,300
  • Transit Programs: $1,727,767
  • Labor: $1,053,766
  • University & Dept Support: $1,381,788
  • Assessments, Insurance, Leases: $265,437 
  • Leases & Debt Transfers: $873,707
  • Depreciation: $848,442   
  • General Services & Supplies: $620,802
  • Maintenance & Repair: $288,021
  • Utilities: $195,627
  • Bike Program Subsidy: $113,683

Debt: Debt payments and interest on large projects and parking facilities.

Assessments, Insurance, Leases: Various transportation-related assessments including the 'Local Improvement District' assessment for construction of light rail on the transit mall (5th and 6th Avenues) and a fee for management of the transit mall. Also includes office space lease and state assessments.

Transit Programs: Subsidies for student and employee transit pass programs.

Bike Program Subsidy: Support for the PSU Bike Hub, which operates at a small net loss, plus the expenses for new bike parking on campus and Bicycle encourage programs like the Bike to PSU Challenge.

TAPS FY14-15 Expenses graph

Labor: Approximately 60 employees including 15 full-time and 45 part-time staff. Labor expenses include wages and benefits for those employees.

Maintenance and Repairs: Parking facilities make up over 1.2 million square feet of space on campus and need to be regularly maintained including routine cleaning, and the repair and replacmement of such things as lights, fan systems, drainage systems, and signs.

Utilities: Electricity, water use, and storm water/sewage charges for parking facilities.

General Services and Supplies: Office supplies, telecommunication costs, equipment and software for permit sales and citation issuance, postage, and staff training.

University & Dept Support: TAPS relies on many other departments at PSU for administrative and managerial support. In order to support the staff and supplies they need, we make payments to those departments each year.