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APTA: Extend the commuter tax benefit

Posted on December 12, 2013

American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President/CEO Michael Melaniphy issued a statement today urging Congress to vote to extend the commuter tax benefit, which is set to expire on Dec. 31.

“Commuters who use public transportation and especially those with the longer commutes by rail, bus, or vanpools may see their annual commuting cost increase up to $1,380 a year based on a bias in the tax code that eliminates the parity between public transportation and auto users.

If Congress fails to pass legislation to preserve equity between the tax treatment of transit benefits and benefits for parking, when current law expires on December 31, 2013, the transit commuter benefit will drop from $245 to $130 per month, while the parking benefit is automatically adjusted up to $250 per month.

Reducing the benefits for public transit riders at the same time that this tax benefit is adjusted upward for auto drivers diverges from a balanced federal tax policy that treats different modes of travel equitably.

We urge Americans to support fair treatment for all commuters by writing to their Representatives and Senators and asking them to support the Commuter Parity Act (House Resolution 2288) and the Commuter Benefits Equity Act (Senate Bill 1116). Congress can extend this benefit in any “tax extenders” legislation that is considered before the end of the year.

Congress must act now to maintain parity between transit tax benefits and parking tax benefits to ensure that there is not a disincentive for taking public transit. It is sound policy to maintain both the public transit and parking benefits at equal levels.

Last year, Americans took more than 10.5 billion trips on public transportation. Let’s preserve equity in the tax code when it comes to commuting – whether one commutes by public transportation or drives to work.”

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