Employees in DC could get cash to opt out of free parking

WASHINGTON — A common job perk may be pushing more people into their cars when they would otherwise find some other way to commute.

Many employers offer free or subsidized parking to workers, and under a bill introduced by D.C. Council members Mary Cheh and Charles Allen, those employers would be required to offer mass transit benefits or cash payments to employees who decline the free or reduced-price parking.

The benefits and payments would be equivalent to the value of the parking contribution offered by the employer.

The goal is to further incentivize commuters to consider options such as walking, biking or taking transit.

Such legislation is not uncommon: California has a similar law.

If practical issues surrounding the measure can be worked out, “I think there would be support for it,” Cheh told WTOP. A hearing and feedback from the community and businesses would likely play a large role in shaping the bill.

“As everybody knows, especially downtown, congestion is a very serious problem,” she said, “and if we can reduce that in some way, we’re hoping to do that.”

This proposal is one of several that leaders are looking at to reduce congestion, she said.

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