Almost 11 months after the Commonwealth Ports Authority made parking free at the Francisco C. Ada-Saipan International Airport, management is now working on having the parking fees reinstated.
CPA decided to open the airport parking lot without charge starting Dec. 1, 2014. However, in their recent board meeting on Sept. 28, CPA executive director Maryann Lizama told the board that the parking booth system will be reinstated in fiscal year 2016; the fiscal year 2016 starts today, Oct. 1.
Lizama noted that CPA’s analysis of the parking booth system is that it will cost the ports authority about $250,000 to expand the parking lot at the terminal. She said the cost of expansion could not be supported without revenue generation. At the same time, because of the free parking, vehicles sometimes park for days if not weeks at a time, resulting in other vehicles parking in grassy areas and scattering litter in the parking lot.
“We have given the public a year’s reprieve from the booth fees, but we will be reinstating that. Fees will go up but it will be announced to the public and given proper notification with regards to the fees and when the parking booth will be in effect,” she said.
CPA board member Thomas Villagomez, however, opposed the reinstatement of the parking booth system, saying it never benefitted the CPA.
POI Aviation was managing the parking booth system under a contract with CPA that expired in Nov. 30, 2015. CPA made the decision not to renew the contract, saying it was not making a profit out of the parking booth.
“I have suggested already that we put a sign in there to restrict parking to a certain time and assess fees and penalties. I believe CPA is authorized to issue tickets to impose fines,” Villagomez said.
“I think we can try to implement that program [imposing charges and fees]. With this enforcement there, there will be collection. I don’t think anybody here in the Commonwealth respects anything when it comes to parking,” he added.
CPA board member Barrie Toves agreed with Villagomez, echoing his statement that they took out the parking booth system because of lost revenue.
Toves said it would be better to implement Villagomez’s strategy on fees and fines and that if that didn’t work out, then reinstating the parking booth would be the second option.
Toves proposed that an analysis be made first on the requirements for imposing fines and charges for the parking lot at the airport.