Legislator Proposes Commuter Relief from Gas Prices

July 16, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - U.S. Representative Steven C. LaTourette (R-Ohio) has introduced legislation to reimburse workers for some of the cost of their commute to work.

Under the Commuter Relief and Fuel Efficiency Act of 2008 (H.R. 6154), commuters would be reimbursed for up to 30 miles per day, up to five days per week and up to 50 weeks per year. The standard reimbursement will be four cents per mile, but commuters with vehicles that receive 35 miles per gallon will be reimbursed five cents per mile, according to a news release from LaTourette.

Provisions of the bill kick in when the national average price of gas is at or above $2.75 per gallon. LaTourette said the bill encourages and rewards the use of fuel-efficient vehicles and discourages urban sprawl by rewarding those who live closer to work.

Reimbursement will be available only to people in the country legally, and to commuters who do not already receive mileage reimbursement from their employers. The proposal would also provide some relief for seniors and other non-worker drivers (like students) who would be eligible to receive reimbursement for up to 2,000 miles per year. 

The program will be administered through the Federal Highway Administration, and grants to each state will be based on vehicle registrations. To receive reimbursement, drivers will have to fill out an application with the state, and states will have the option of reimbursing drivers monthly or quarterly.