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114th Congress   }                                   {  Rept. 114-860
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session      }                                   {         Part 1

======================================================================



 
                   TRANSIT BENEFITS MODERNIZATION ACT

                                _______
                                

December 8, 2016.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Chaffetz, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 6008]

    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 6008) to provide transit benefits 
to Federal employees who use the services of transportation 
network companies within the national capital region, and for 
other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill as amended 
do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................     3
Section-by-Section...............................................     6
Explanation of Amendments........................................     7
Committee Consideration..........................................     7
Roll Call Votes..................................................     7
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     7
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     7
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     7
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     7
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     8
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     8
Unfunded Mandate Statement.......................................     8
Earmark Identification...........................................     8
Committee Estimate...............................................     8
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...     8

    The amendments are as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; FINDINGS.

  (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Transit Benefits 
Modernization Act''.
  (b) Findings.--Congress finds the following:
          (1) The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority 
        (``WMATA'') provides approximately 2.3 million Metrorail and 
        Metrobus trips per year across the National Capital Region to 
        Federal employees, commuters, and millions of visitors to the 
        Nation's capital.
          (2) Approximately 40 percent of WMATA peak-hour commuters are 
        Federal employees.
          (3) WMATA began building its rail system in 1969, currently 
        serves 91 stations, and has 117 miles of track.
          (4) The Federal Transit Administration (``FTA'') and the 
        National Transportation Safety Board have found significant 
        safety concerns resulting from a backlog of deferred 
        maintenance.
          (5) WMATA has designed a plan, called SafeTrack, in an effort 
        to address this backlog of deferred maintenance.
          (6) SafeTrack would close the system earlier on weekends and 
        expand weekday maintenance by reducing the number of rails in 
        use at certain stations from two to one.
          (7) The plan includes 15 ``Safety Surges'' with around-the-
        clock single tracking or segment shutdowns that will impact 
        rush hour commutes.
          (8) FTA's review of SafeTrack's first two ``safety surge'' 
        areas found a number of defects in the plan's execution.
          (9) SafeTrack is scheduled to conclude in March 2017.
          (10) During SafeTrack, WMATA is encouraging customers to 
        utilize other commuting options, including ride-sharing 
        services.
          (11) WMATA has indicated that service disruptions will 
        continue to occur following SafeTrack as routine maintenance is 
        needed.
          (12) The Federal Government, which is negatively affected 
        when employees cannot easily commute to and from work, has an 
        interest in assisting employees with alternate commuting 
        options.

SEC. 2. PROVIDING A FRINGE TRANSIT BENEFIT FOR USE OF TRANSPORTATION 
                    NETWORK COMPANIES.

  For purposes of section 132(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 
the use of a transportation network company by Federal employees as 
provided for in this Act shall be treated as a fringe benefit which 
qualifies as a qualified transportation fringe for the period 
established in section 3(a) of this Act.

SEC. 3. TRANSIT BENEFITS FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES FOR THE USE OF DIGITAL 
                    TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES.

  (a) In General.--During the period beginning on the date of enactment 
of this Act and ending on December 31, 2018, any agency that has a 
program, including a program established under section 7905 of title 5, 
United States Code, or Executive Order 13150 (April 21, 2000; 65 Fed. 
Reg. 24613), to provide transit benefits to employees of the agency 
shall provide transit benefits to employees who use the services of any 
digital transportation company within the Washington Metropolitan Area 
in the same manner as such agency provides transit benefits to 
employees who use public transportation services within the Washington 
Metropolitan Area.
  (b) Requirements.--
          (1) Election.--Unless otherwise statutorily authorized, an 
        employee may receive transit benefits under this section only 
        if the employee agrees in writing to not accept any other 
        transit or parking benefit offered by the head of any agency 
        with a transit benefit program while receiving the transit 
        benefits under this section.
          (2) Limitation.--The amount of the transit benefit provided 
        to an employee under this section during any month for the use 
        of services provided by any digital transportation company may 
        not exceed the amount of the monthly average transit benefit 
        received by the employee during the 6-month period immediately 
        preceding the month during which an election is made under 
        paragraph (1).
          (3) Implementation.--Transit benefits under this section 
        shall be provided in a manner substantially similar to the 
        manner in which transit benefits are provided to employees who 
        use mass transportation services. The head of any agency with a 
        transit benefit program may consult with any digital 
        transportation company and any other head of any agency with a 
        transit benefit program to establish the procedures necessary 
        to provide transit benefits under this section.
          (4) Substantiation.--The head of any agency with a transit 
        benefit program, the Secretary of the Department of 
        Transportation, and the Secretary of the Treasury shall, in 
        connection with the establishment of a process for implementing 
        the transit benefit for any digital transportation company, 
        work with any such digital transportation company in 
        establishing a process to substantiate the use of transit 
        benefits by Federal employees using the benefit for services 
        provided by a digital transportation company each month.
  (c) Definitions.--In this section--
          (1) the term ``Washington Metropolitan Area'' means the 
        District of Columbia; Montgomery, Prince George's, Frederick, 
        and Charles Counties in Maryland; Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, 
        and Prince William Counties in Virginia; and all cities now or 
        hereafter existing in Maryland or Virginia within the 
        geographic area bounded by the outer boundaries of the combined 
        area of said counties;
          (2) the term ``digital transportation company'' means any 
        transportation network company or car-sharing service;
          (3) the term ``car-sharing service'' means a membership or 
        non-membership based service primarily designed for shorter 
        time or shorter distance trips where individuals are charged 
        per mile or per hour, or both, for vehicle usage; and
          (4) the term ``transportation network company'' means a 
        corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other entity 
        that uses a digital network to connect riders to drivers 
        affiliated with the entity in order for a driver to provide 
        transportation services to a rider.
    Amend the title so as to read:
    A bill to provide transit benefits to Federal employees who 
use the services of digital transportation companies within the 
national capital region, and for other purposes.

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 6008, the Transit Benefits Modernization Act, allows 
federal employees to expend their federal transit benefits with 
digital transportation companies, including transportation 
network companies and car-sharing services, in the Washington 
D.C. Metropolitan Area. Under the legislation, an employee may 
only receive transit benefits for the use of a digital 
transportation company if he or she declines other transit 
benefits, and such use may not exceed the monthly average 
benefit received during the six-month period prior to choosing 
digital transportation company benefits.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Recently, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit 
Authority (WMATA) has experienced a number of high-profile 
infrastructure related incidents, largely stemming from 
inadequate long-term maintenance.\1\ These events included an 
incident at the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station, whereby a smoke 
incident ultimately resulted in the death of a passenger. 
Despite efforts by WMATA personnel to address the problems that 
caused the L'Enfant incident, on March 14, 2016, a fire 
occurred in a tunnel outside of the McPherson Square Metro 
station as a result of an electrical malfunction involving one 
of the third-rail power cables--a malfunction similar to that 
which caused the L'Enfant Plaza incident.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\See e.g. Paul J. Wiedefeld, A Message to Blue, Orange & Silver 
Line Customers from GM Wiedefeld, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit 
Authority (March 14, 2016), available at http://www.wmata.com/
rider_tools/metro_service_status/advisories.cfm?AID=5491;and Paul 
Duggan, et. al., 1 Dead, Dozens Hurt After Metro Car Fills with Smoke, 
Wash. Post (Jan. 13, 2015), available at https://
www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/1-dead-dozens-hurt-on-
metro-car-filled-with-smoke/2015/01/12/e832c0f0-9aa8-11e4-a7ee-
526210d665b4_story.html.
    \2\Paul J. Wiedefeld, A Message to Blue, Orange & Silver Line 
Customers from GM Wiedefeld, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit 
Authority (March 14, 2016), available at http://www.wmata.com/
rider_tools/metro_service_status/advisories.cfm?AID=5491.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Following this fire, WMATA announced an unprecedented 24-
hour shutdown safety surge\3\--an action which disrupted the 
commute of Washington D.C. metropolitan area workers to the 
point that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) expanded 
telework authority.\4\ Despite the safety surge, the system 
continued to experience smoke and fire incidents related to 
electrical and infrastructure maintenance issues.\5\ The 
persistent incidents led WMATA to consider more drastic ways to 
rapidly improve the safety of the system.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Press release, All Metrorail Service Will be Suspended 
Wednesday, March 16, for Emergency Inspections, Washington Metropolitan 
Area Transit Authority (March 15, 2016), available at http://
www.wmata.com/about_metro/news/PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=6082.
    \4\Status Archives, Wednesday, March 16, 2016 Status, Office of 
Personnel Management (March 15, 2016), available at https://
www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/snow-dismissal-procedures/status-
archives/16/3/15/Open-with-Option-for-Unscheduled-Leave-or-Unscheduled-
Telework_730/.
    \5\See e.g. Martin Di Caro, et. al., A Smoke-Filled Red Line Train 
was Evacuated On Saturday. Here's What Happened, Wamu 88.5 (Apr. 23, 
2016), available at http://wamu.org/news/16/04/23/
a_red_line_train_was_evacuated_on_saturday_night_heres_what_happened.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In June 2016, WMATA began the implementation of an 
aggressive plan to address the deferred maintenance backlog on 
the Metrorail system. This plan, known as SafeTrack, is 
designed to accelerate three years' worth of track work into 
approximately one year and seeks to address safety 
recommendations issued by the Federal Transit Authority and the 
National Transportation Safety Board.\6\ According to WMATA, 
SafeTrack provides the additional time necessary to complete 
track work by implementing 15 ``Safety Surges'' that ``utilize 
long-duration track outages through around-the-clock single 
tracking or line-segment shutdowns that will impact rush hour 
commutes.''\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, SafeTrack, 
available at wmata.com/rail/safetrack.cfm? (last visited Sept. 20, 
2016).
    \7\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As a result of SafeTrack, Metrorail riders have experienced 
longer travel times, closed stations, and crowded conditions 
when riding Metrorail. In order to lessen congestion, WMATA has 
urged riders to consider alternate travel options while work is 
completed on their lines.\8\ Federal employees, who utilize the 
Metrorail system to complete their daily commutes, have been 
limited in their ability to find alternative options as a 
result of the small pool of transportation services for which 
transit benefits may be used.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to disruptions federal employees face during 
their home-to-work-to-home commute, the federal government 
experienced disruptions in its operations as employees arrive 
late to work. Foreseeing this impact, OPM issued a memorandum 
on May 20, 2016 urging federal agencies to plan for disruptions 
to the Metrorail system.\9\ H.R. 6008 furthers the goal of 
OPM's memo by ensuring the disruptions to the federal 
government from SafeTrack are minimized.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Memorandum from Beth F. Cobert, Acting Director of the Office of 
Personnel Management, to Heads of Executive Dep'ts and Agencies, Impact 
of the Metro SafeTrack Project on Washington, D.C., Area Federal 
Employees (May 20, 2016).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Federal employees already receive transit benefits that 
encourage beneficiaries to use mass transit for up to $255 per 
month under the law.\10\ H.R. 6008, introduced by 
Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC), would help federal 
employees living and working in the Washington D.C. 
metropolitan area avoid the effects of SafeTrack for the 
duration of the program (until December 31, 2018) by allowing 
them to apply their transit benefits toward the use of a 
digital transportation company. The bill would help WMATA 
lessen crowding on Metrorail trains as a result of SafeTrack, 
as federal employees account for 42 percent of WMATA peak-hour 
commuters.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\5 U.S.C. 7905, in addition to Exec. Order No. 13150, 65 Fed. 
Reg. 24613 (April 21, 2000), in addition to U.S. Dep't of 
Transportation, TranServe F.A.Q., available at transerve.dot.gov/
faq.html (last visited Sept. 20, 2016).
    \11\Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Metro Facts 
2016 1, available at http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/docs/
Metro%20Facts%202016.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    An earlier version of the bill, H.R. 5647, also introduced 
by Rep. Meadows, provided authority for use of transportation 
benefits with transportation network companies only through the 
proposed end of SafeTrack in June 2017. Several recent 
announcements by WMATA have extended the expected completion 
date for SafeTrack past June 2017.\12\ As a result, extended 
periods of single tracking and/or complete shutdowns of rail 
sections will continue longer than initially expected. This in 
turn will result in further inconvenience and delays for 
federal workers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\Martine Powers, Even Congress may be giving up hope that 
SafeTrack will end on time, Wash. Post, Sept. 19, 2016, available at 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2016/09/19/even-
congress-may-be-giving-up-hope-that-safetrack-will-end-on-time/ (last 
visited Sept. 20, 2016).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 6008 allows employees to utilize digital 
transportation company transit benefits until December 31, 
2018. The longer time frame in the bill ensures federal 
employees will retain flexibility in using transit benefits 
should WMATA continue to run into delays while working on the 
Metrorail system.
    In addition to a potentially extended SafeTrack timeline, 
two other factors contribute to an expectation that longer 
travel times and the need for alternative transportation 
methods will continue for federal workers for the foreseeable 
future. First, WMATA has begun considering proposals that would 
permanently curtail the hours in which the Metrorail 
operates.\13\ Due to the nature of their work, federal 
employees may need at times to work late, and the Metrorail's 
possible future cuts in operating time may disrupt federal 
employees' ability to get to and from work.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\Martine Powers et. al., Metro general manager proposes 
permanent end to late-night service, Wash. Post, July 26, 2016, 
available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/
metro-general-manager-proposes-permanent-end-to-late-night-service/
2016/07/26/b36b15aa-535e-11e6-b7de-dfe509430c39_story.html (last 
visited Sept. 20, 2016).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The second factor suggesting continued need for alternative 
transportation services beyond the end of SafeTrack is a report 
by the American Public Transportation Association that was 
requested by WMATA. The report finds that, while SafeTrack is 
ensuring pressing maintenance needs are met, the system is in a 
continual state of catch-up as it relates to infrastructure 
maintenance.\14\ The result of this constant state of catch-up 
on maintenance will likely mean continued track and service 
disruptions beyond the end of SafeTrack.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\American Public Transportation Association, A Peer Review of 
Third Rail Power & Infrastructure (Sept. 21, 2016, available at http://
www.wmata.com/about_metro/board_of_directors/
agenda.cfm?agendaID=2588&committeeID;=53&committeeName;=Safety%20Committee.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 6008, the Transit Benefits Modernization Act, was 
introduced on September 13, 2016 by Representative Mark Meadows 
(R-NC), and referred to the Committee on Oversight and 
Government Reform. In addition, the bill was referred to the 
Committee on Ways and Means.
    On September 15, 2016, the Committee on Oversight and 
Government Reform favorably reported H.R. 6008, as amended, by 
unanimous consent.
    An earlier version of the bill, H.R. 5647, was introduced 
on July 6, 2016 by Rep. Meadows and referred to the Committees 
on Ways and Means and Oversight and Government Reform.

                           Section-by-Section


Section 1. Short title; findings

    Designates the short title of the bill as the ``Transit 
Benefits Modernization Act''.
    Makes findings of certain facts relating to the Washington 
Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) SafeTrack 
program.
    Finds that the federal government is negatively affected 
when its employees cannot commute to and from work and 
alternate commuting options are needed during the course of 
SafeTrack.

Section 2. Providing a fringe transit benefit for use of transportation 
        network companies

    Provides a transit fringe benefit (income that is excluded 
from taxable gross income) for qualified ride-sharing service 
provided by a transportation network company between the date 
of enactment and December 31, 2018.

Section 3. Transit benefits for federal employees for the use of 
        digital transportation companies

    Instructs federal agencies that offer a transit benefit to 
their employees to include digital transportation companies 
within their transit benefit programs between the date of 
enactment and December 31, 2018.
    Limits the new transit benefit program to the Washington, 
D.C., metropolitan area.
    Clarifies that unless otherwise statutorily authorized, 
employees may not accept any other transit benefits or parking 
benefits offered by agencies while utilizing the digital 
transportation company benefits.
    Limits the amount of the transit benefit for digital 
transportation companies to the average transit benefit 
received by the employee during the six month period 
immediately before the month in which the employee chooses the 
digital transportation company benefit.
    Instructs heads of agencies to work with the Secretary of 
Transportation and the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a 
process for the substantiation of the use of digital 
transportation company benefits by employees.
    Defines ``Washington Metropolitan Area'' as the District of 
Columbia; Montgomery, Prince George's, Frederick, and Charles 
Counties in Maryland; Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince 
William Counties in Virginia; and all cities now or hereafter 
existing in Maryland or Virginia within the geographic area 
bounded by the outer boundaries of the combined area of said 
counties.
    Defines ``digital transportation company'' as any 
transportation network company or car-sharing service.
    Defines ``car-sharing service'' as a membership or non-
membership based service primarily designed for shorter time or 
shorter distance trips where individuals are charged per mile 
or per hour, or both, for vehicle usage.
    Defines ``transportation network company'' as a 
corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other entity 
that uses a digital network to connect riders to drivers 
affiliated with the entity in order for a driver to provide 
transportation services to a rider.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    During Full Committee consideration of the bill, 
Representative William Lacy Clay (D-MO) offered an amendment 
that would allow federal employees to use their transit 
benefits for car-sharing services in addition to transportation 
network companies. The Clay amendment was adopted by unanimous 
consent.

                        Committee Consideration

    On September 15, 2016, the Committee met in open session 
and ordered reported favorably the bill, H.R. 6008, as amended, 
by unanimous consent, a quorum being present.

                            Roll Call Votes

    No roll call votes were requested or conducted during Full 
Committee consideration of H.R. 6008.

              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill provides transit benefits to Federal employees who 
use the services of transportation network companies within the 
national capital region. As such this bill does not relate to 
employment or access to public services and accommodations.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goal and objective of the bill is to provide transit benefits 
to Federal employees who use the services of transportation 
network companies within the national capital region.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of this bill establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the federal government known to be duplicative of 
another federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that enacting this bill does direct 
the completion of specific rule makings within the meaning of 5 
U.S.C. 551. Specifically, H.R. 6008 requires agencies, in 
conjunction with transit entities and the Department of 
Transportation, to formulate a procedure for providing benefits 
to employees for use with digital transportation companies. The 
bill also requires that agencies create and implement a 
substantiation process to ensure accuracy in benefit 
calculations.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., Section 5(b).

                       Unfunded Mandate Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandate Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to 
whether the provisions of the reported include unfunded 
mandates. In compliance with this requirement the Committee has 
received a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included 
herein.

                         Earmark Identification

    This bill does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

                           Committee Estimate

    At the time of this writing, the Committee had yet to 
receive a formal cost estimate from the Congressional Budget 
Office for H.R. 6008. The Committee estimates that H.R. 6008 
will not result in significant cost increases for the transit 
subsidy program from 2017-2018. H.R. 6008 stipulates that 
individuals who opt to receive their transit benefit in the 
form of a digital network company benefit, shall only receive a 
subsidy equal to the average amount received by the employee in 
the 6-months prior to election of a transportation network 
company benefit. As a result, the total cost for an individual 
who opts to receive the digital network company benefit would 
be no greater than the existing cost of the individual's 
transit benefit subsidy. The Committee anticipates H.R. 6008 
may encourage some new applicants for transit benefit 
subsidies. However, the number of individuals who opt to 
receive a transit subsidy who are not currently enrolled in the 
subsidy program, or receiving a parking benefit, is expected to 
be nominal. In addition, the need for thorough substantiation 
of all travel paid for by the subsidy will help to prevent 
unintended subsidization of non-commute travel.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has not 
received a cost estimate for this bill from the Director of 
Congressional Budget Office, and instead has included a 
committee estimate in the section prior to this one.

                                [all]