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Reps. Blumenauer, McGovern to help WMATA rally for transit tax benefit


U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and James McGovern (D-Mass.) will hold a rally this morning with Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Chairman Tom Downs to call for the federal commuter tax break to be restored to tax parity with people who drive motor vehicles to work.

The rally also will feature the Commuter Benefits Work for Us coalition, which includes employers, unions, transit agencies, national and local associations calling on Congress to end the tax on transit riders and to establish parity, WMATA officials said in a media announcement.

During the event, the coalition is expected to release a letter from more than 50 national organizations as well as highlight information from a series of studies that show the impact of transit benefits.

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.

The lower benefit is partly to blame for the agency's dip in ridership so far this year, WMATA officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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