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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Four congressmen unveil Transit Parity Act

Four congressmen have introduced the Transit Parity Act, a bipartisan bill that would maintain tax credit parity for motorists and public transportation riders.

Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced the bill in the House last week. Without the legislation, commuters using public transportation systems will have their tax benefit cut nearly in half to $125, while motorists who drive and park their vehicles will continue to receive the current $245 tax benefit, the congressmen said in a joint press release issued by Blumenauer's office.

"It is only fair that the pre-tax benefit be made permanently equal, no matter how one commutes to work," said Grimm.

Under existing federal law, employers can offer their employees an option of up to $245 per month in pre-tax parking or transit benefits. Unless Congress acts before Jan. 2, 2014, the transit benefit will drop to $125, but the parking benefit will remain at $245 per year.

The bill also would provide businesses a tax break from the commuter benefit. In 2010, participating transit riders saved their employers about $300 million in payroll taxes, the congressmen said.

"We can avoid a tax increase on millions of families and continue to give workers the option to use a transportation mode that increases economic productivity, reduces congestion and is friendlier to the environment," said Blumenauer.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/11/2013