Congress is continuing its efforts to encourage federal employees to use ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft when commuting and traveling.
The Senate introduced the Modernizing Government Travel Act (S. 3337) last week, a bill that would direct the General Services Administration to make it easier for federal employees to utilize ride sharing services while on official government business. The bill is being touted as one that would save taxpayers money since these services are sometimes cheaper than other means of travel.
“Millions of Americans have saved themselves time and money by using new innovative travel services such as Uber, Lyft, and bikeshare, but current federal travel reimbursement regulations have made it difficult for federal employees to use these new technologies while on the job.” said Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), the bill’s sponsor. “This bill would require the GSA to clarify the availability of these options so our federal employees can increase efficiency and decrease costs.”
Companion legislation was also introduced in the House this summer. Offered by Reps. Will Hurd (R-TX) and Seth Moulton (D-MA), the bill would allow traveling federal workers to be reimbursed for ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft when traveling for the government.
A related bill that was also introduced over the summer claims it would help alleviate some of the commuting difficulties for federal workers in the Washington, DC area while repairs are being made to the Metro. Introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the bill would allow DC area federal workers to use their transit benefits on ride sharing services rather than just the Metro. The Oversight and Government Affairs Committee unanimously approved Meadows’ bill last week.
“During a time when WMATA is getting its house in order, federal commuters have been frustrated at their lack of options for getting in to work,” Meadows said. “Many of the frequent, random delays on the metro have caused some federal workers to arrive late, miss meetings, or lose out on valuable work time. This bill will allow federal workers to expand their commuting options and not require them to depend on a sole, unreliable form of transportation—especially during WMATA’s time period of construction.”