Students have voted to increase the transportation fee from $20 to $40 dollars per semester with an increase of $2 per year. The vote took place on ASAP Sept. 13 and 14.
The student-led initiative, in coordination with the Student Government Association (SGA), proposed the referendum to address UTSA’s parking and transportation problems. The fee will increase the number of shuttles, the shuttles’ capacity, and the number of routes the system services.
Out of the roughly 31,000 UTSA students, only 1259 voted on the initiative – about four percent of the student body population. From this figure 65 percent (813) said yes to increase the fee while 35 percent (446) voted against it.
Approval for the fee increase is now in the hands of the UTSA administration. Xavier Johnson, president of the Student Government Association said, “Now that the students have voted, I am going to coordinate the effort to get the fee increase passed by the Board of Regents.
“I will work with UTSA President Dr. Richard Romo and UTSA Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Gage Paine to advocate for the students of UTSA to get the fee increase approved. Currently the Board of Regents is not approving any fee increases until further notice, which is why we need strong support from the SGA and the UTSA administration.”
Route 43 shuttle driver Ken Johnson said, “I think it’s a good thing that the vote passed because I have to leave a lot of students behind. We just don’t have enough shuttles.”
However, some students think that the university’s timing is problematic.
Kiara Gradney, senior psychology major, said, “Since our athletics fee just went up because of the football team, why increase it just because we need more buses? Honestly, I don’t think the school is growing fast enough to justify the bus routes. So if I had to vote on it, I would definitely vote no.”
Others think the fee is necessary to assist students in getting to class on time.
Junior business management major Luke Walker said, “I feel that we should increase the fee because there isn’t enough student parking. I took the shuttle a lot last year it was always full, and sometimes I would have to wait two or three buses before I could get a ride.”
Approval by the Board of Regents is the final step in the process. If the board approves the fee, UTSA can begin the process of improving the shuttle system as early as spring 2012 ,which is when students would see the increased fee on their tuition bills.