The D.C. government’s plan to use part of its $900 million of its unallocated money as an incentive for increasing more Metro ridership is a bad idea.

I haven’t heard the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say “Hey everyone, stop wearing your mask and stop doing social distancing.”

Many employers in the D.C. area already compensate their employees with SmarTrip fare cards. And people who drive don’t want to be around people who might have the virus or didn’t get vaccinated.

No, it’s a waste of money and ridership will stay stagnant until President Joe Biden and the CDC say the virus is no longer with us and everyone can go back to their daily lives.

Instead, the $900 million should go back into affordable housing for families and individuals that are experiencing or about to experience homelessness.

That money could also be put toward job training programs, or used to hire qualified mental health workers who can help people get off the streets and find the help they need.

I can go on and on how $900 million in unallocated money can be used. But it’s ridiculous to give D.C. residents $100 per month in fare cards to encourage ridership during a pandemic. 

Aida Peery is a vendor program associate with Street Sense Media.