Bus

APTA: Commuter benefit cut burdens middle class

Posted on November 30, 2010

Middle class Americans who ride public transportation will face increased commuting costs if Congress does not act to extend the transit commuter benefit by the end of the year. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) says that 70 percent of those who rely on public transit have household incomes ranging from $15,000 to $99,000 a year, according to its latest demographic survey of riders.

“Unless Congress acts, a financial bias in the tax code against public transit use will be reinstated,” said APTA President William Millar. “This, in effect, raises taxes on middle class workers.”

The American  Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) established parity between parking and transit/vanpool benefits, presently at $230 per month; however the transit/vanpool portion of the benefit will revert back to $120 per month when the provision sunsets at the end of the year while the parking benefit remains at $230. APTA is calling on Congress to act now to permanently extend the maximum transit commuter tax benefit to the level equal to the parking tax benefit.

“While Congress is currently debating the extension of various tax provisions, there should be no debate about extending this vital commuter benefit for the American worker,” said Millar. “These challenging economic conditions have also placed considerable pressure on employers to reduce costs. Without this tax extension, employers will have no financial incentive to provide transit commuter benefits equal to the parking benefit. This results in bad public policy that favors automobile use over public transit use.”

Public transit riders should tell Congress to support the commuter transit benefit in any tax proposal passed before the end of the year. Specifically riders should encourage Congress to support Rep. Jim McGovern’s (D-Mass.) legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) legislation on the Senate side before the extension expires on Dec. 31, 2010.

“Nearly 20 percent of a household’s income is spent on transportation costs and public transportation provides an affordable, and for many a necessary, alternative to driving,” said Millar. “This benefit has become an essential tool for many working families to help balance their budgets. With many public transportation agencies implementing fare increases to balance their budgets, the higher level of transit commuter benefit helps soften the blow of those increased costs.”

 

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Albuquerque BRT project exploring full sponsorship

ABQ RIDE is looking to model its plan after the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s HealthLine, which is sponsored through a hospital partnership. Construction on the so-called ART system could begin in May 2016 with an in-service date of September 2017.

New luxury bus service launches in San Francisco

The service, which costs $6 a ride, asks riders to download the Leap app, creating an account, uploading a photo and adding a credit card that enables them to pay via a QR code.

4ONE wins multiple bus seating orders

Agencies ordering the company's products, which are now in at least half of all new U.S. and Canadian transit buses, include L.A. Metro, Chicago Transit Authority and New York City Transit.

New Flyer awarded big Las Vegas CNG bus contract

The contract includes a firm order for 35 XN40 and 20 XN60 Xcelsior buses, with an option for another 150 XN40 and 100 XN60 over the next five years. All buses are to be powered by CNG.

Pierce Transit taps Apollo for video surveillance

The decision comes after the agency conducted an analysis and product review period. Implementation of the project began in February and all work is expected to be completed by the end of April.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

Please sign in or register to .    Close