EPA Paid Almost $700k for Parking Spaces That Went Unused

A recent IG report found that the EPA paid almost $700,000 for subsidized employee parking spaces that went unused over a two year period.

A recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General found that the agency paid $690,000 for subsidized parking spaces that were never used.

According to the report, EPA headquarters in Washington, DC and a regional office in Atlanta, GA paid a total of $1.5 million for both subsidized and unoccupied parking spaces over a two year period. $840,000 was paid to offer the benefit to agency employees in addition to the $690,000 spent on unused parking spaces. The report noted that no other EPA offices offered the benefit to their employees which is not a required employee benefit.

Headquarters Parking Subsidy

From January 2015 through December 2016, the total cost the EPA paid to the General Services Administration for the agency’s employee-occupied, unoccupied and government vehicle parking spaces at the Ronald Reagan Building parking garage was approximately $2.5 million. The EPA paid $1.6 million of this amount, and the remaining $850,000 was paid by employees.

With the subsidy, EPA employees paid $163.45 per month for a parking space while other tenants paid $319 per month.

The table below from the report breaks down the employee and agency costs for the subsidized parking benefit at EPA headquarters office.

Type of space Number of spaces* Amount employees paid to EPA Amount paid by EPA Total cost EPA paid to GSA
Employee-occupied spaces 232.5 $849,621 $811,629 $1,661,250
Unoccupied spaces 95.5 $682,363 $682,363
Government vehicle spaces 16 $114,323 $114,323
Total 344 $849,621 $1,608,315 $2,457,936
*  Motorcycle spaces count for 0.5 of a parking space. The number of each type of space is based on the September 2016 parking report issued by Ronald Reagan Building management.

IG Recommendations

The EPA IG made some recommendations to EPA based on its findings. One of them was to look hard at whether subsidized employee parking is really necessary. If not, the agency should consider reducing or eliminating the subsidy altogether.

According to the report, “EPA staff stated that federal laws allowed the agency to provide parking subsidies to employees. However, Executive Order 13693 touts federal air quality goals, and no law requires subsidized parking to be a mandatory employee benefit. Consequently, the EPA was using valuable resources to subsidize employee parking when the funds could be put to better use in mission-critical programs.”

The report also said that any unneeded parking spaces should be returned to the General Services Administration. The IG said that if not returned to GSA and if the parking spaces remain unoccupied, the EPA could wind up wasting $347,000 annually. The table below from the report breaks down what the annual costs to the agency would be for the parking spaces.

Unoccupied parking spaces in 2015 and 2016

Location Number of spaces Biennial amount paid Annual amount paid
Headquarters (Washington, DC) 95.5 $682,363 $341 ,182
Region 4 (Atlanta, GA) 8.0 11,083 5,542
Total 103.5 $693,446 $346,724

The IG also said that at the very least, if the EPA offices decide to continue offering the parking subsidy, it should conduct a periodic review of the parking space allocations and return any that aren’t needed to GSA.

The Atlanta, GA EPA office said that it had taken action to conduct reviews of the parking spaces and said it will reduce subsidized parking spaces to one space.

EPA IG Report on Subsidized Parking Spaces

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.