Hogan Announces Free Rides for Unpaid Federal Employees

Federal employees on unpaid furloughs are guaranteed back pay after the shutdown is over

BALTIMORE (January 24, 2019)—Unpaid federal employees feeling the effects of the government shutdown will receive free rides from Maryland Transportation Administration services, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday at Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport.

Starting Friday morning, all MTA services will be available for free to unpaid employees upon showing a federal ID, according to state Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn.

"We're going to waive all fees to these impacted federal employees for all MTA services," Hogan said. "So if they're riding the MARC train, if they're riding MTA, Baltimore Metro, BusLink, BaltimoreLink, every single state transportation service is going to be free."

The governor's office has also reached out to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority asking that they offer free rides to federal employees in the region who commute using the Metro system as well, Rahn said.

The regional transit authority declined to comment regarding Hogan's request, according to a WMATA representative.

BWI has set up a food drive for their employees, requesting that people donate non-perishable items at the Maryland Transportation Authority Police station in the airport. The Maryland Department of General services has also established 15 locations across the state in government-owned buildings where food can be donated.

Representatives from Exelon, Baltimore Gas and Electric and Pepco were present as Hogan announced that these companies would not be charging late fees to unpaid federal employees.

Hogan toured the various security checkpoints throughout the airport, meeting with the Transportation Security Administration agents affected by the federal government shutdown and thanking them for their continued service.

BWI had closed one of its security checkpoints due to a lack of screeners showing up to work because of the shutdown. Those at the remaining checkpoints are working without pay.

Hogan noted that despite the difference in party between himself, a Republican, and most Maryland state lawmakers, who are Democrats, the state government has remained productive during his time in office.

"Why can't they do it down the street in Washington? It doesn't make sense."

The current federal government shutdown is the longest in U.S. history at 34 days as of Thursday. It is estimated that about 93,000 Marylanders are being affected, with nearly $420 million lost in wages each pay period, according to a state legislative analysis. President Trump has already signed a bill that guarantees back pay to unpaid furloughed workers once the shutdown is over.

Hogan placed blame on both Congress—where Democrats control the U.S. House, and Republicans the Senate—and President Donald Trump, a Republican, for the government shutdown, emphasizing that "everyone in Washington," was responsible.

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