D.C. Councilmembers are considering a bill that would allocate $100 a month for residents to ride the Metro.
The bill, Metro for DC Amendment Act of 2022, is authored by Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6). The $100 would come from surplus funds at the end of the city’s fiscal year.
Additionally, $10 million would be dedicated to improving the District’s bus service.
Supporters of the bill argue by paying for trips taken, the $100 per resident proposal could get cars off the streets and subsidize Metro’s service costs. Proponents of Allen’s bill also say it will help the environment and take a burden off the budgets of those who rely on public transportation.
“As we focus on a recovery that helps D.C. come back better than before, I believe this is the right investment in our residents and in the backbone of our regional economy—our WMATA system,” Allen said in a news release. “It shouldn’t cost D.C. residents more to use our public transit system than any other form of getting around—and getting more people on WMATA has huge benefits for our city. But we can’t focus on affordability at the expense of service, which is why I proposed a dedicated fund to improving bus service, where any investment we can do will make the overall experience better.”
Critics say that undocumented workers would have to register with the District to receive the benefit. Also, skeptics say that residents who have financial means should pay for their own trips without government assistance and some public sector workers, such as those who work in the federal sector, shouldn’t be allowed to participate in the program because they receive Metro cards that are paid for.
A hearing on Allen’s bill occurred on Wednesday before the Committee on Transportation and the Environment which is chaired by Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3). WTOP reported no representatives from WMATA were at the hearing.
Allen’s bill has been co-introduced by Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D) and Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 6), Christina Henderson (I-At Large), Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), Anita Bonds (D-At Large), Janeese Lewis George (D-Ward 4), Robert White (D-At Large) and Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2).