Government waste: federal employees’ mass transit subsidies nearly doubling
It didn’t take long for the fruits of the fiscal cliff deal to begin falling from the government apple tree. This week, federal employees in the Washington, D.C. area woke up to a nice notice informing them the cap on their mass transit subsidy will be going back up to $240.00 a month. In 2011, the subsidy was reduced to $125.00. Increasing the subsidy to $240 is nearly doubling the monthly allotment.
In spite of record deficits, the federal government uses your tax dollars to pay government employees to use mass transit for their commute to work. Some may think this is great because it helps the environment. The problem is that the government is also using your tax dollars to help pay government employees to park their personal cars in the Capitol. So much for a reduction in government spending or greenhouse gases.
Making this subsidy even more egregious is the fact that one in five federal employees in the DC area make over $100,000.00 a year. For perspective, when you combine salary and benefits, the average federal worker makes twice as much as the average private sector worker.
If the whole thing seems like a scam you would be right. The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is losing more money than it takes in. WMATA falsely believed the solution to their money problems was to increase the cost to ride their buses and rail lines, and in the summer of 2012 WMATA increased their rates for the second time in two years.
Not surprisingly, ridership has fallen and WMATA is projected to make $5 million less than they originally predicted for the year. For some reason the they seem shocked by the fact that people do not like to pay higher prices for a product that has been steadily declining in both quality and service for years. Combine the fare hikes with the recent reduction in gas prices and the choice becomes clear.
This is nothing more than the government giving a backdoor bailout to a failing transit system. Unfortunately, with the politicians believing in the old adage, “government programs never fail, they’re just underfunded,” WMATA is not likely to feel any long-term pain resulting from their failed fare hikes. If only the same could be said for the private sector worker stuck paying for their own ticket and the ticket of the federal worker sitting next to them.
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