DC Commuters Receive Federal Stipend

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Effective October 1, 2000, up to 200,000 federal employees in the DC metropolitan area are entitled to receive a monthly stipend designed to get them off the highways and onto public transportation.

The Metrocheck program, which has provided a $33 per month commuting stipend to 150,000 federal employees since 1993, has been expanded to provide an increased subsidy of $65 per month and to cover an additional 200,000 federal employees.

The expanded plan, which was ordered by President Clinton, will help defray the cost to federal workers of commuting to and from work, thus freeing the DC highways of clogging traffic. The $65 payment should, in most cases, cover the entire cost of commuting.

Trains, buses, and subways have all reported a significant increase in ridership since the plan became effective, and plans are in place to add train and subway cars and additional parking at the stations. It is anticipated that the program will add 20,000 new daily commuters to the subway system by the end of the year.

The cost of the plan? Take 20,000 federal employees, multiply times $65 per month ($1,300,000), times 12 months per year yields $15,600,000 per year in federal spending. This calculation does not take into account the federal employees who have been using the plan for the past seven years, nor does it include those who opt into the plan and commute via train, bus, or van pool.

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