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U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday announced his plan to prompt Congress to pass the "Commuter Benefits Equity Act," which would extend transit commuters' federal tax benefit that's scheduled to expire on Dec. 31.The current tax break covers up to $245 per month of a person's gross income to pay for their mass transit commutes. It provides parity with a previous benefit extended to drivers' auto parking costs.The benefit needs to be extended before Jan. 1; trying to extend it retroactively would be extremely difficult, said Schumer in a press release.He expects to include in his legislation a package of tax provisions, known as the "extenders package," before Dec. 31."As the price of commuting continues to climb, this tax break has become increasingly vital," said Schumer. "Mass transit is the lifeblood of the New York area, and this provision helps keep it flowing and affordable."
Over the past year, 700,000 New York City-area commuters saved more than $330 million as a result of the tax benefit, said Schumer, who authored the legislation that created the tax break.