The economic stimulus package signed into law by President Obama yesterday doesn't only provide funding for transit agencies — it also will benefit those who ride the systems.
The law raises the amount of pretax income that workers enrolled in employer-sponsored commuter benefits can use to pay for mass transit from $120 to $230 per month, according to nonprofit organization TransitCenter Inc.
The increase will enable transit-commuting employees to save up to $1,000 a year. In addition, companies that offer the benefit will save an additional $100 per employee in payroll taxes annually. Up to one-third of employers not currently offering the benefit would do so if the monthly transit benefit were increased, and 53 percent of employees would use the program if it was offered to them, according to recent TransitCenter surveys.
TransitCenter was created 20 years ago to "develop innovative ways to encourage greater use of mass transit in order to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality," according to the organization.