David Woods September 23 letter states two inaccuracies in his condemnation of my efforts to get state funding for a parking garage at Shepherd University.
First, he says that I blamed both the Town of Shepherdstown and Shepherd University for the lack of such a garage. False. I did no such thing. As I clearly stated in my column of September 9, the fault lies with the rule that prevents any bond money from being used for a parking garage. This rule was adopted by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission ten years ago at the insistence of then-Chancellor Mike Mullen.
Dr. Suzanne Shipley, Shepherd's president, has the garage at the top of Shepherd's list of needs. Her predecessor, Dr. David Dunlop, had done the same. The current Mayor of Shepherdstown, Jim Auxer, is a strong proponent of the garage, as were his immediate predecessors. So is every member of the town council, past and present, with whom I've spoken about this question.
Woods goes on to assert that I said that a parking garage can never pay for itself "because it can't park more cars than are now parking in the streets." That too is false. I never said any such thing.
What I said is that the parking fees at Shepherd cannot practically be much higher than they are now. All students pay a parking fee, even those who now park on Shepherdstown's streets. That money already goes to current expenses. Whatever additional money raised from an increase in such fees would be woefully inadequate to pay the debt service on a $10 million garage.
Finally, Woods questions the $4 million Shepherd is spending on a pedestrian underpass. What is being built is more than just an underpass. The roadway is being raised seven and a half feet for about a hundred yards. In the process Shepherd Grade will be considerably less steep where it joins Route 480, making that intersection much safer. Making both the student crossing and the Shepherd Grade intersection safer and making traffic flow on 480 easier is, to my mind, a well-spent $4 million.
I appreciate Woods reading my column. I'd like it more if he read it more carefully.