The Carter administration is considering eilmination of free VIP parking and cut-rate employe parking at both National and Dulles International airports, an official of the Office of Management and Budget said yesterday.
The OMB official said his agency has asked the Department of Transportation, which operates the two airports, to investigate whether the parking privileges comply "withthe spirit of" the president's announced plans to eliminate parking subsidies for federal workers.
The investigation poses a dilemma for the Federal Aviation Administration, which directly manages the airports and which receives its funds from Congress, whose members are allowed free parking at the airports. "They [the FAA] are clearly over a barrel," said the OMB official who asked not to be named.
Diplomats and Supreme Court justices, as well as members of Congress park free at both airports, and are assigned spaces closest to passenger terminals. Although the privilege is frequently abused by ex-congressmen, aides, nondiplomats and others, airport officials say they are reluctant to change the system fearing reprisals from Capitol Hill.
Both airports offer federally subsidized parking for employes at rates well below those charged the public.
"We have talked with the Department of Transportation on both subjects." said the OMB official. "We don't know yet what they're going to recommend."
A Department of Transportation spokesman yesterday could not locate the office handling the airport parking matter.
But an FAA spokesman said yesterday Carter could order the VIP lot closed. "How popular that would be on Capitol Hill is another story," he said.
Even if the administration succeeds in eliminating the free parking, the OMB official said, taxpayers will still end up paying. "Unless they [congressmen] use it for personal use," the OMB official said, "it's a legitimate business expense" for which Congress can be reimbursed by the Treasury.
The 4,000 public parking spaces at National are priced from $4.50 to $10 a day. Parking for thousands of private employes - at $15 a year - averages 6 cents a day.
Parking at Dulles is cheaper - $2.50 a day - and employes there are offered the same yearly parking rate as National Airport workers.
The FAA maintains the close-in parking or the convenience of members of Congress, who travel frequently between Washington and their home districts. "They [members of Congress] have a lot of perquisites," the OMB official said. "Do I think they're spoiled? Probably not. They have a rough job." CAPTION: Picture, The VIP parking lot at National Airport and its counterpart at Dulles are being considered for possible elimination by the administration. By James A. Parcell - The Washington Post