Commutes to Capitol Hill just got more expensive

Congressional staffers are great at making their salaries go as far as possible.

But depending on how far away from Capitol Hill they live, as of Thursday, congressional employees may need to plan for as much as $100 extra in commuting expense per year.

The DC Metro board on Thursday approved a 10 cent surcharge for all metro trips, effective until at least June 30, 2010. The vote was unanimous and the charge will go into effect in March.

For someone who commutes back and forth to Capitol Hill via Metrorail five times a week, that's about an extra $50 a year. But add a bus trip to the Metrorail stop, and that figure doubles.

Some more senior-level staffers are provided with pre-loaded SmartTrip cards, but the policy on covering commuting expenses differs from office to office.