Flexible commuter benefits bill reintroduced in DC

On February 19, 2019, D.C. Councilmembers Charles Allen and Mary Cheh reintroduced the parking cash-out bill, B23-148. This bill will require employers that subsidize parking for an employee’s commute to offer a transit benefit of equal value, or provide cash. It doesnt impose a cost or a new benefit, it simply lets an employee choose to use an employer-provided commute benefit for something other than driving and parking.

What’s the next step?: voting it out of the Transportation & Environment committee and into the full Council. Councilmembers Todd (Ward 4), and McDuffie (Ward 5) have not yet said if they will support the bill. If you are a business owner or constituent, let your councilmember know you support this sensible bill to let an employee use an employer’s parking benefit for an alternative commute.

Here are the options an employer can provide as an alternative to employees for a parking-only subsidy:

  • transit benefit of equal value to parking subsidy
  • cash of equal value to parking subsidy
  • increased health coverage benefit
  • cease to offer parking subsidies
  • Transportation Demand Management Plan that helps achieve the moveDC plan goal of under 25% commute trips by car or taxi

The bill has one major change: it exempts parking that is owned — rather than leased or paid for — by an employer. While we are disappointed in this exemption, we still believe the bill covering employers that lease or pay for employee commuter parking will have important benefits.  These benefits include: reduced traffic congestion (especially in downtown); increased bus speeds; increased transit, walk, and bike commutes; reduced greenhouse gas and other pollutant emissions; and fewer traffic crashes. View the factsheet here, or learn more about the campaign here.