Bill to give DC residents $100 a month on SmarTrip cards reintroduced

DC Councilmember Charles Allen is re-introducing his bill that would put a recurring $100 balance to D.C. resident’s SmarTrip card every month and make a $10 million annual investment in improving bus service and infrastructure in the District.

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The bill was first introduced in March 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted much of District life.

Metro For DC would create a way for all DC residents to register a SmarTrip card and have it refresh to a $100 balance at the beginning of each month, similar to some employer-paid benefit programs.

The balance would never exceed $100, so the District only pays for what a resident uses while riding Metrorail or Metrobus. 

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"It should be a benefit of being a DC resident to be able to take full advantage of our world-class WMATA system. No matter how you slice it, an extra $100 a month saved on transportation would help a lot of DC residents and it would be a great boost to our WMATA system at a time when it needs to recover," said Councilmember Allen. "At the same time, it’s not enough to make it more affordable. We need to improve service by making it frequent, faster, and more reliable. That’s why the dedicated bus fund is just as impactful."

The law would also create a dedicated fund that requires DDOT to make improvements to bus service such as funding more District routes, reducing headways on existing routes or creating dedicated bus lanes and improving bus shelters for those waiting.

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"This offers a lot of benefits for our community. Better for families. Better for employers and businesses who count on WMATA. It will help get more people back on WMATA, plus an important boost for the essential workers who have been riding the whole time. And we can pay for it without raising anyone’s taxes," said Councilmember Allen.

The bill proposes funding the benefits to residents by dedicating excess revenue to the fund once other existing obligations to debt servicing and the Housing Production Trust Fund are met.

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Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmembers Mary Cheh, Robert White, Janeese Lewis George, Brianne Nadeau, Anita Bonds, Christina Henderson, Kenyan McDuffie and Brook Pinto have signed on as co-introducers.