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Congressional Gridlock Kills Mass Transit Benefit

Submitted by Elizabeth Mooney on Thu, 2012-01-05 11:22.

It's a cold start to the new year for mass transit and van pool riders -- and not just because of the weather.

Commuters saved over $200 million in 2011  because of the now-expired transit  benefit.Commuters saved over $200 million in 2011 because of the now-expired transit benefit.Despite efforts by New York's senators, a key federal transit benefit expired on Dec. 31, 2011. 

The commuter benefit covered up to $230 per month from a person’s gross income to pay for their mass transit commutes. Some 500,000 commuters in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area, and 2.7 million commuters nationwide relied on it until the ball dropped on Times Square last week.

The benefit rollback will cost commuters hundreds of dollars a year. According to a white paper produced by a coalition of benefit providers, someone who makes $50,000 a year and spends at least $230 per month on transit will be hit with a "transit tax" of more than $400 a year.

U.S. Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand have sponsored legislation to permanently increase the transit benefit (S1034/HR2412), and were among a group of 22 senators that had worked to include an extension of benefit parity in the payroll tax extension bill.

This ultimately did not happen; efforts to restore the benefit will continue when Congress resumes work this month.

NYLCV Blog | Filed Under: Transportation, Funding,Statewide

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