Monday, August 01, 2005

New Transit Benefit for D.C.-area Workers

The Washington Post's Stephen Barr highlights in his column today a new benefit for federal employees that is in the $286 billion transportation bill passed by Congress last week. The provision would expand the number of tax-free vouchers available to federal workers, up to $105 monthly, for using transit.

Currently 155,000 workers receive the benefit in the D.C. region. Maryland Sen. Paul Sarbanes handled the legislation on the Senate side, while Rep. Tom Davis and Rep. Jim Moran did so in the House. Moran is quoted as say that the federal government, as the region's biggest employer, "needs to be setting an example that will help reduce traffic congestion."

The new legislation expands an executive order issued in April 2000. Besides making thousands of other employees eligible for the benefit, the bill would also let federal agencies set up shuttle services between their offices and transit facilities.

The benefit is available outside the Washington region to other federal employees, on a pre-tax basis, Barr reports, but many agencies just pay the benefit to keep their employees on par with Washington-area staffers.


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