This morning, Councilmember Charles Allen will announce plans to introduce a bill which would offer DC residents monthly stipends of up to $100 for public transit rides.
The "Metro for DC" bill, expected to be formally introduced on Tuesday, also includes provisions to create a "Dedicated Bus Fund" to help expand bus service in underserved and low-income areas. The total cost would be $54-$151 million, with the bus fund requiring $10 million, The Washington Post reports.
If the bill passes, residents would be able to sign up to have the stipend loaded onto their Smartrip cards. The monies would not roll over from month to month, so any unused portion of the stipend would not come out of the fund.
The stipend would first be offered to residents who are Medicaid-eligible, followed by families who earn up to 100% of area median income (roughly $96,000), then families who earn up to $155,000 annually, then the remaining residents.
The bill is pitched as a way to incentivize increased transit ridership; WMATA is currently seeking feedback on a proposed budget which would cut and consolidate several bus lines in the city and seeks to restructure fares. The bill is not expected to require new sources of revenue, and it also plans to ensure participation for homeless and unbanked residents.
Councilmember Allen's office reports that about 170,000 DC residents use public transit, accounting for 30% of Metro ridership. There is currently a pilot program offering 1,000 low-income DC residents free or subsidized Smartrip cards, and the mayor has also been rallying to restore late-night service on Metrorail.
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc-council-to-introduce-bill-giving-residents-transit-stipends/16532.
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