December 2022: D.C’s New “Parking Cash Out” Law Goes into Effect in January 2023

01 Dec

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Update Applicable to:
All employers with at least 20 employees and provide parking benefits in Washington D.C. (District of Columbia).

What happened?
In April 2020, the District of Columbia (D.C.) passed D.C. Law 23-113 into law, also known as the Transportation Benefits Equity Amendment Act (informally referred to as the “Parking Cash Out” law), which will affect “covered” employers with new requirements regarding parking and transportation.

What are the details?
By January 15, 2023, or the end of their parking lease, whichever is later, “Covered Employers” with at least 20 D.C. employees that offer free or subsidized leased parking benefits must comply with the law by adopting one of the following “Parking Cash Out Options”:

  1. Offer a Clean Air Transportation Fringe Benefit

Covered Employers may choose to comply by offering a “Clean Air Transportation Fringe Benefit” in exchange for the employee declining the Covered Employer’s free or subsidized leased parking benefit.

Employees may use Clean Air Transportation Fringe Benefit amounts for:

  1. Transportation in a commuter highway vehicle
  2. Transit passes
  3. qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement; or
  4. Keeping the amounts and walking or bicycling to work

These amounts may not be used for ride-share platforms.

The amount of the Clean Air Transportation Fringe Benefit offered must be of equal or greater value than the market value of the parking benefit. Market value is the average price of private parking facilities within ¼ of a mile of the Covered Employer’s workplace. If such rates are not available, the Covered Employer should use an alternative D.C.-approved method for calculating the Clean Air Transportation Fringe Benefit amount.

If an employee does not use the full amount of their Clean Air Transportation Fringe Benefit, then the Covered Employer must provide payments to the employee in the differential amount. Such payments may be in the form of increased compensation, a contribution toward the employee’s health insurance premiums, or a combination of both.

  1. Transportation Demand Management Plan

Covered Employers also may choose to comply by developing a “Transportation Demand Management Plan” (TDM). The TDM must require the Covered Employer to implement a plan to reduce commutes by car by 10% annually until 25% or less of the Covered Employer’s employees commute to the city by car. Each TDM is subject to review and must be approved by the District’s Department of Transportation (DDOT). Covered Employers that choose to develop a TDM are required to provide DDOT with annual reporting metrics under D.C. Code § 32–152.01 (d)(3)(A).

  1. Clean Air Compliance Fee

Finally, Covered Employers may choose to comply by paying a “Clean Air Compliance Fee” of $100 per month for each D.C. employee offered a parking benefit.

Reporting Requirements
Under the Parking Cash Out Law, all Covered Employers, regardless of which option is selected, must submit a report to the DDOT that includes the following:

  1. The total number of D.C. employees 
  2. The number of D.C. employees:
    1. Offered a parking benefit 
    2. Using a parking benefit 
    3. Offered a Clean Air Transportation Fringe Benefit 
    4. Using a Clean Air Transportation Fringe Benefit 
    5. For whom the Covered Employer is paying DDOT the $100 Clean Air Compliance Fee 

Employers that are not covered must report the basis for their exemption to DDOT.

The report is due every two years. The first report must be submitted by January 15, 2023.

Exemptions
The following employers are exempt from adopting one of the three Parking Cash Out Options outlined above (but they still must comply with the Parking Cash Out Law’s reporting requirements):

  • Employers of at least 20 D.C. employees that owned the parking spaces used by employees before October 1, 2020, and that continue to own those parking spaces
  • Employers of at least 20 D.C. employees that leased the parking spaces used by employees before October 1, 2020, have a temporary exemption until the later of (1) the end of the current lease term and (2) January 15, 2023
  • Employers of at least 20 D.C. employees that were subject to a TDM (reviewed by DDOT) before October 1, 2020, are exempt until the end of the current term of the TDM or after five years, whichever is earlier
  • Employers of at least 20 D.C. employees that were subject to a Campus Plan (applicable to large institutions, such as colleges and universities) before October 1, 2020, are exempt until the end of the current term of the Campus Plan

Additionally, parking offered to an employee who is required to use a personal vehicle to perform their work is not considered a parking benefit.

For more information, please see the links below:

D.C. Law 23-113

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above, review their commuter benefits and ensure they have a compliant plan.

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