Reps. Lipinski and King Urge Ways and Means Committee to Restore Transit Tax Benefit (September 17, 2015)
Reps. Dan Lipinski (IL-3) and Peter King (NY-2) are calling on Congress to increase and permanently extend a tax benefit that helps commuters who use public transit to get to and from work. This benefit helps more people use public transportation, eases congestion on the roads, supports the economy, and increases quality of life. In a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Leadership – that was joined by 52 other House members – they ask that the increased transit tax benefit be included in the tax extenders package the House is expected to consider before the end of the year.
In the past, commuters riding trains, buses, subways, and other forms of public transit were entitled to $245 in monthly tax-free benefits to defray the costs of their commute, an amount equal to the parking benefit offered to commuters who chose to drive to work. However, Congressional inaction on the transit benefit led to it being reduced by nearly half, to $130 in 2014. As a result, many commuters who previously utilized this benefit have either switched to driving, paid for fares that exceed the lower monthly benefit out of their pocket, or paid taxes on employer provided fare benefits that were previously excluded from taxable income. Last year, this benefit was increased retroactively, but this provided little practical benefit to the vast majority of commuters.
“With 2.7 million commuters using the transit benefit to get from home to work, Congress should take action to ensure that riders of public transportation are provided with the same benefits as other commuters,” stated Reps. Lipinski and King in their letter to Ways and Means Committee Leadership. “Moreover, Congress should ensure that the benefit is restored in order to continue efforts to encourage public transportation ridership, which helps get cars off the road, reduce emissions, and eliminate lost time and delays. As Congress seeks to improve our economy and create jobs, helping people get to work must be a priority.”