BOSTON – The Massachusetts Port Authority is proposing raising parking rates to cover increased parking costs, boost high occupancy vehicle use, fund Boston Logan International Airport infrastructure improvements, and improve airport accessibility.
The centerpiece of the proposal is a $2 or $3 increase in the rate for central parking – up to a maximum of $29 or $30 per day in the central garages and $20 or $21 a day in the Economy Lot. The Board will also consider similar increases pegged to take effect in 2016. If approved by the Board at the April 17 meeting, the per day rate changes could go into effect July 1. The first hour rate will not change from $6 in order to reduce terminal curb congestion, but subsequent hourly rates will rise by $2 or $3.
Parking rates were last raised in 2012 by $3 per day. The 2014 increase will help keep pace with costs associated with operating, maintaining and improving the parking facilities at Logan. Massport staff will present the proposal to the Audit & Finance Committee of the Board on April 14 at 5 p.m. at the Logan Office Center, One Harborside Drive, East Boston. Individuals wishing to comment on the proposal should attend the meeting, or submit their comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Logan Parking.
“Logan has the highest rate of mass transit and high occupancy vehicle access of any airport in the nation, but we must continue to improve that,’’ said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn, “The costs of operating our garages continues to rise and we are building a $30 million Logan Express parking garage in Framingham which will double the number of available spaces for the suburban bus service, we continue to support the free Silver Line service inbound to the city from Logan, and we will be rolling out a shuttle bus from the Back Bay to Logan later this spring. These important programs will be supported by the parking increase.”
Logan parking is constrained and there are more than 50 times a year when demand for parking exceeds the number of lined spaces available. In the last 12 months, more than 70,000 cars were either valeted or diverted to a different lot than the one the customer wanted. The cost associated with the diversions and valet operations exceeds $1 million a year.
Massport will begin construction this year on a $60 million project to add up to a total of 2,050 spaces to the central and Terminal B garages, located in the center of the airport campus, to reduce the need for a complimentary valet system that has been in place for four years to deal with excess cars. Massport relies on overtime and temporary workers to shuffle as many as 1,500 cars a day, by temporarily parking in garage travel lanes and putting them under elevated roadways outside. When lined spaces open in the garage, staff then parks the cars in the garage. Keys are waiting at a valet desk when passengers return. The valet operation increases operational expenses by about $1 million annually. Operating and debt service costs of the Logan garages rose about $2.5 million last year and are expected to be higher this year as Massport leases space for free parking in Suffolk Downs when all airport parking is full.
The demand is particularly acute in the middle of the week, when business travelers use the airport.
If parking was not an option at the airport, parkers surveyed said they would either be dropped off or take a taxi cab. In both cases, that means four vehicle trips to and from Logan rather than two when parking is available.
Reducing the number of airport passengers and employees who drive to the airport is critical, especially when the growing number of Logan passengers strains the airport’s parking inventory. In 2013, Logan set a passenger record with 30.2 million. In the last two years, Logan has seen the number of parking exits decrease, but midweek parking demand continues to grow at a two percent annual rate.
In addition to operating and HOV costs, the parking rate increase will help finance debt service and amortization costs of parking infrastructure improvements.
Boston Logan, 15 minutes from the intersection of Route 128 and I-90 and five minutes from downtown Boston, serves as the gateway to the New England region and offers nonstop service to 76 domestic and 36 international destinations and in 2013 handled 30.2 million passengers. Boston Logan is served by two public transit lines and is the Air Line Pilot Association’s Airport of the Year for 2008 because of its commitment to safety. Over the past decade, the airport spent $4.5 billion on a modernization program that includes new terminals, public transportation access, parking facilities, roadways and airport concessions, and has been transformed into a world-class 21st Century facility. The airport generates $7 billion in total economic impact each year.