Ohio State University announced plans Friday to lease school parking operations for $483 million to a Hartford's LAZ Parking-Australian firm partnership over a 50-year contract the university says will raise billions in investment earnings to support its academic programs, The Associated Press reports.
The recommendation to lease the parking operations to Queensland, Australia-based QIC Global Infrastructure goes before university trustees later this month. The university would maintain ownership of its parking garages and spaces, which total more than 35,000 spaces. LAZ is the company's U.S. partner in the deal.
Taking the parking operation private would provide $3.1 billion in investment earnings to hire more faculty, provide more student aid, support the arts and humanities and pay for the university's bus services, the university said.
QIC's bid would cap annual parking rate increases at 5.5 percent for the contract's first 10 years. After that, increases fall to the lower of either 4 percent or the rate of inflation.
"Moving forward with this agreement would be one component of an overarching strategy to strengthen our faculty, students, and programs by generating new funding," said Provost Joseph Alutto.
Ohio State President Gordon Gee has argued for months that the lease is necessary to provide revenue for Ohio State at a time of declining public funding.
Other universities have turned their parking operations over to private companies. Ohio State's proposal is unique because of the size of the upfront payment and the length of the contract, said Geoff Chatas, the university's chief financial officer.