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Ohio State Officials To Announce Parking Lease Bid Friday

As Ohio State University administrators prepare to recommend a company to lease its parking operations, OSU President Gordon Gee continues to defend the controversial proposal. OSU officials are expected to recommend a $483 million bid from the investment company QIC Global Infrastructure. Under the agreement the Australian firm would take over OSU parking operations for 50 years. The private company would set and collect parking fees, but it agrees to cap rate hikes at 5.5 percent per year. Appearing on WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher, OSU President Gee said the world’s economy is “upside down,â€? and that the university must make sure the institution remains in good financial standing. And privatizing parking is one way. Gee said the university received higher bids than the one most favored, but the rate increases would have been higher. “We were offered more money, but if would have taken more money we also would have not been able to cap our parking rates. The 5.5 percent is what the historical rate has been for the last 10 years.â€? Under the favored bid, OSU expects its endowment to grow by $4.9 billion, generating $3 billion in interest income. But OSU physics professor Ulrich Hines said that’s not the case according to faculty research. He says they’ll break even. “We are lucky that the bid has come out as high as $483 million," Hines said. "If it had been $400 million as originally assumed or hoped for by the university, it would have been a deficit for us." The other two bids came in at $523 million and $390 million. But the rate increases over the next ten years reached 7.5 percent. Ultimately, the decision is in the hands of the OSU Board of Trustees.