City considers game day parking tax
Rutgers had a record-breaking attendance of 53,774 at its first Big Ten Conference game against Penn State at High Point Solutions Stadium earlier this year.
This turnout is often costly for the Piscataway Township, which supplies a police force and other municipal services for Rutgers events.
At least 11 people were arrested at the game against Penn State — two made by the Piscataway police, the rest by the Rutgers University Police Department, according to New Brunswick Today.
To account for the financial burden that Rutgers events place on the township, Piscataway proposed an ordinance on Nov. 6 for a 7 percent parking tax at future University events and games, according to mycentraljersey.com.
Peter McDonough, senior vice president of external affairs at Rutgers, said parking revenue yielded about $1 million a few years ago, which, if the tax policy were approved, would amount to $70,000 for the township.
The initial date for hearing and passing the ordinance was Nov. 25, but it was tabled after University officials contested the policy’s legal grounds.
Anne Gordon, public information officer for Piscataway Township, said there have been no further updates on the matter. At this point, there is no pending action.
“They’re looking to clarify everything,” Gordon said. “That doesn’t mean it’s in its final stages at all.”
Kurt Falk, an alumnus, said he understands the township’s point of view.
“I always thought that [Rutgers] would cover the costs for their special events,” he said via email. “Perhaps a set fee between [Rutgers] and Piscataway for special events might be [a] better way to go especially for football games.”
McDonough confirmed via email that the ordinance has been tabled.
“We continue to work with the Township and with our own legal counsel to determine if such potential action is permissible,” he said.
The administration is also looking for ways to minimize the impact a Piscataway special events parking tax would have on Rutgers students and fans, he added.
Falk said it really seems more of a tax on tailgaters who are compelled to park near the stadium.
Parking is currently available in 14 locations for those without parking passes, according to the Rutgers Athletics’ website.
Other lots are available on the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences campus, Saint George Greek Church lot and Johnson Park across from the stadium on a first-come, first-served basis.
Game-day parking costs $20 per car in most lots, $30 at the park and $35 at the church. Buses and larger vehicles pay $100.
The fee at Saint George Greek Church is considered a tax-deductible donation, and the Rutgers football website advertises it as a place to bypass congestion on game-day with the safety of a police officer always on duty.
Parking lots open five hours before kickoff, and shuttle buses for students start running three hours prior to kickoff.
Coinciding with the launch of Rutgers’ participation in the Big Ten Conference this year, the administration has encouraged community support and turnout for football games while making attempts not to create more demand for parking spaces.
In September, University President Robert L. Barchi told mycentraljersey.com that tailgating should be a family affair and opened up his lawn as a location that “wouldn’t diminish the parking lot space for tailgaters.”
“Last spring, the Barchis brought their concept of a family-friendly, alcohol-free homecoming event to the Rutgers University Alumni Association,” the article said.
Piscataway Police Department announced on its Twitter account last Saturday there would be no parking in effect on certain streets near the stadium on game day. It warned attendees the police would be enforcing the policy.