(Washington, DC -- Jessica Gould, WAMU) The District is partnering with two local universities to help employees live near where they work. As part of a new pilot program, the District is giving $60,000 each to Gallaudet and American universities to help staff members live within a couple miles of campus.
"Seventy percent of the people who work in the District of Columbia do not live in the city," says Mayor Vincent Gray. "Given the fact that we have no authority to tax income at its source it means that people who live outside the city then pay taxes in whatever jurisdiction in which they live."
The city is providing up to $6,000 dollars to help homeowners with downpayments or closing costs, and the universities will match the funds.
"It means reduced traffic congestion and air pollution and a stronger, more stable tax base for the city," says D.C. Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning.
Critics have called the program a drop in the bucket, but when it comes to improving the environment and enhancing the quality of life, Tregoning says every little bit counts.
"The employee also gets to spend less time commuting, and has a potentially healthier lifestyle because they're able to walk or bike, which is going to be good for them," Tregoning says.
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