Armstrong: Parking ticket money goes to trust fund

Kyle Lowe/The Collegian

If you drive around the Fresno State campus, you’ll see those little orange envelopes tucked beneath the windshield wiper of a parked car.

Tickets are given to cars that lack a parking permit, have an expired day pass displayed in the window or are parked in front of an expired meter. What happens to the money collected from all of those tickets?

Amy Armstrong, public information officer for the University Police Department, said that fines collected from parking tickets are put into a trust fund.

“It’s utilized for staff and operations, as well as alternative transportation like bike programs and ride-share programs,” Armstrong said.

Roughly $500,000 is collected from fines each year.

There are a variety of ways that students can end up on the hook for a parking fine. Biology major Cori Pearson got one because she “parked in a carpool area before 10:30.”

“I was late for class,” she said.

Pearson said there is a sign that warns students against parking in that area, but that the sign is hard to see. She paid a $25 fine.

The UPD Traffic Operations website states, “Our objective is to manage parking resources efficiently, emphasizing customer service, so that students, faculty, staff and visitors are able to park without difficulty and lawfully.”

Brenda Reyes found out how efficiently UPD manages parking resources. The art major also parked in a ride-share area too early in the day.

“They wanted me to pay $25, but I argued it and only had to pay $10,” Reyes said.

There is an appeal process. A request for a review must be made within 21 days from the date the citation was issued. The initial review may be made in person at the UPD Service Center, online or by mail.

There are three levels of appeal. Contesting a citation at the first level is free.

Those who appeal are not guaranteed that it will be successful. Not knowing the rules (“Ignorance of the law is not a defense,” a judge once said) or being misinformed by anyone other than a Traffic Operations employee is not a legitimate reason for getting your ticket dismissed.

Computer engineering major Steven Samouvong is another student who received a parking ticket, but he chose not to appeal the $25 fine.

“I was guilty,” Samouvong said.

Parking passes are another source of income for the school. Revenue collected from parking passes is called fees, Armstrong said. That money is put into a separate trust fund, which is also utilized for staff and operations, as well as parking lot striping and repairing potholes.

How much are parking passes? $68 will get students a pass for one semester, while $136 will buy an annual pass good for the fall/spring semesters. $44 will allow students to park during the summer.

Permits can be purchased online, at the cashier’s window in the Joyal Administration building or at the UPD satellite office downstairs in the University Student Union.

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