Two Congressmen have introduced legislation that would allow traveling federal workers to be reimbursed for ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft when traveling for the government.
Known as the Government Travel Modernization Act, the bill would allow federal employees to use ride and bike sharing services when traveling for government business. The bill is being introduced by Congressmen Will Hurd (R-TX) and Seth Moulton (D-MA).
The lawmakers say it would give federal workers greater flexibility by being able to summon a ride via a smartphone app, and that the legislation would also save taxpayers money and bring government travel into the 21st century to allow for reimbursement of the other services rather than just traditional ones, such as taxi cabs.
“The federal government is notoriously behind-the-times with antiquated policies that stifle innovation and 21st Century competition. The result is a government that rewards outdated technology and pays more than it should for basic services,” said Rep. Hurd, who chairs the House Subcommittee on IT, and has been an advocate for modernizing federal IT and embracing new technology. “This bill finally allows federal employees to catch up with the private sector and moves the needle toward a more innovative and responsive government.”
Uber and Lyft were pleased to learn of the legislation.
“Thank you to the sponsors for putting forth this legislation that will make it easier and more affordable for thousands of federal employees to travel for work,” said Niki Christoff, Head of Federal Affairs for Uber. “We are committed to providing reliable transportation at the push of a button for everyone, everywhere and we’re hopeful that with this legislation, Uber, and all ridesharing options, will be able to provide that service to those working in the federal government.”
This is not the first time Congress has introduced legislation designed to encourage the use of ride sharing services. Last year, Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) introduced a bill that would require some federal agencies to sell cars that they own and subsequently encourage federal employees to use ride-sharing companies to get around town (see One Congressman Wants Federal Employees to Use Uber to Get Around).