|HUD No. 06-076
July 3, 2006
HUD EMPLOYEES TRANSITION TO ELECTRONIC TRANSIT SUBSIDIES
HUD "Gets Smart" with Electronic SmarTrip Cards
WASHINGTON - The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) today announced a major improvement in the delivery of transit subsidy to HUD employees working in the Washington metropolitan area. Instead of receiving paper Metrocheks, eligible HUD employees will be able to electronically download subsidies directly onto their SmarTrip cards. HUD is the first cabinet level agency to implement the upgrade to the SmartBenefits program.
The upgrade will save HUD a minimum of $100,000 annually. In FY 2006, HUD spent $2.6 million on Washington area employee transit costs.
"Electronic cards are a more convenient way to deliver transit subsidy for the vast majority of Washington-based HUD employees who use public transportation," said Keith Nelson, HUD Assistant Secretary for Administration. "We believe SmarTrip cards will spare our employees from having to wait in long lines, as well as avoiding the problems associated with losing or damaging the old paper Metrocheks."
Throughout the month of July, Washington-based HUD commuters will be able to download their monthly transit subsidy using SmarTrip cards.
By using a SmarTrip card, employees who commute using Metrorail, Metrobus or a WMATA-registered vanpool can download their subsidy at Metrorail stations at their own convenience. Employees will also be able to receive their subsidy on one card, without having to safeguard multiple paper Metrocheks.
"HUD employees now join more than 60,000 other employees in the Washington metropolitan region who participate in Metro's SmartBenefits program," WMATA Sales Programs Manager Lorraine Taylor, who manages SmartBenefits, said. "Enrolling in SmartBenefits streamlines the process for getting transit benefits into the hands of employees. It saves time for both the employer and the employee, and cuts administrative costs."
All HUD employees eligible for the SmartBenefits program have been registered. Those ineligible for the program include employees who use mass transit currently not compatible with the SmarTrip card, such as commuter rail trains operated by the MARC (Maryland) and VRE (Virginia).
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.