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For a lot of Americans, simply getting to or from work represents a significant expense. In fact, earlier this year, CNN‘s Kathryn Vasel totaled up the average annual expense that Americans pay just so that they can earn an income:
Workers spend 200 hours annually at a cost of nearly $2,600 on their daily commute, according to Citi’s ThankYou Premier Commuter Index released Wednesday.
That breaks down to about $10 a day being spent on getting to and from work.
People in Los Angeles face the highest daily roundtrip costs at $16, with New Yorkers coming in second at $14. Commuters in Chicago and San Francisco pay $11 a day, according to the survey.
But for many of the federal government’s bureaucrats in Washington D.C., their personal cost for commuting to and from their jobs is about to drop to zero, because the $1.1 trillion government spending bill signed by President Obama back on December 16, 2015 will effectively allow them to ride the city’s Metro light rail system for free, even at peak rush hour fares. Kathryn Watson of the Daily Caller Foundation reports:
The catch-all spending bill increases federal employee Metro benefits from up to $130 a month to as much as $255 a month. The hike more than covers maximum fares of $5.90 from any point on the system to any other point on the system during rush hour, both ways, over a 21-workday month.
Doing the math, the new $255 benefit per month for riding Washington D.C.’s light rail system to commute to and from their jobs would keep the federal government’s bureaucrats from otherwise having to pay up to $3,060 per year each out of their own pockets.
According to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which operates Washington D.C.’s Metro light rail system, the Metro sees some 710,000 riders every weekday, of whom 35%, or 248,500, work for the federal government. At $3,060 per year each, the cost to U.S. taxpayers of fully subsidizing the commutes of these federal government employees would add up to $760,410,000 per year.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, some 132,674,000 Americans commute to and from their jobs, where in addition to paying $2,600 on average out of their own pockets just so they can get to and from where they need to be to earn an income, they’re each having to pay an additional $5.73 above and beyond that annual figure just so that federal workers can get to ride Washington D.C.’s light rail to and from their jobs for free.
Source: Ben Schumin. Flickr: Metro 7000-Series railcar debut. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.