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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

APTA seeks restoration of transit tax parity

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is calling on Congress to take immediate action to restore tax parity for public transportation users.

Commuters who use transit services have seen their annual commuting cost increase by up to $1,380 a year based on a tax code that favors commuters who drive and park motor vehicles, according to APTA. Absent congressional action, the transit commuter benefit dropped at the start of this year from $245 to $130 per month, while the parking benefit was automatically adjusted up to $250 per month, which equates to a higher tax of about $565 per year for those who use public transit, APTA officials said in a press release.

"We believe it is sound policy to maintain both the public transit and parking benefits at equal levels. The current law diverges from a balanced federal tax policy that treats different modes of travel equitably," said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy. "Restoring parity between transit tax benefits and parking tax benefits will eliminate the federal tax incentive to drive over taking public transportation."

Congress increased the transit tax benefit to $240 as part of federal stimulus legislation in 2009. The benefit was reduced when the legislation expired in 2011, but later was restored for a year. The benefit expired again and returned to $130 on Jan. 1.

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