Transit Riders Keep Same Tax Benefits As Drivers

President Obama is about to sign the controversial tax-cut compromise into law, now that the House and Senate have both voted in favor of the bill. That means the transit benefit extension, hidden inside the $858 billion package, will become law as well.

Transit riders get to keep their equal tax benefits, thanks to pressure from advocates. Image: ##http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2009-apr-im-smaller-than-jax-and-i-have-rail-tucson-az##Metro Jacksonville##
Transit riders get to keep their equal tax benefits, thanks to pressure from advocates. Image: ##http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2009-apr-im-smaller-than-jax-and-i-have-rail-tucson-az##Metro Jacksonville##

Nearly four years ago, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced a measure to offer tax parity for commuters on different modes. ““It’s time for mass transit commuters to get some respect,” he said. “It’s time to level the playing field between commuters who use mass transit and those that drive alone. It’s time to fix a tax structure that penalizes mass transit commuters.”

The time didn’t come for another couple years, when the stimulus went into effect, including a $230/month cap for tax-free transit benefits (up from $120/month.) But now that transit riders have been enjoying the savings for a couple years, they were loath to give them up while drivers were allowed to keep theirs.

Now they won’t have to.

  • Bob Davis

    A bit off-topic, but I had an “old home week” moment when I saw that the illustration photo was taken at the LA Metro Gold Line terminal at Sierra Madre Villa (East Pasadena), which is the nearest rail station to my home. Back in July 2003, I bought the first ticket for the first revenue service train out of this station. The bridge in the background connects to a four-level parking structure that’s usually 90+% filled. In a few years, the line will be extended to Azusa, shortening the drive or bus ride for many “far out” passengers.

  • J

    The image maybe credited to Metro Jacksonville, but the picture is of the Sierra Madre Villa Station on the Metro Gold Line in Los Angeles County (City of Pasadena to be specific).

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A federal policy that has encouraged Americans to drive to work instead of taking the bus or the train won’t tilt the playing field toward car commuters so much. A bill that extends provisions of the tax code will permanently set the maximum transit commuter tax benefit at the same level car commuters get for parking expenses. Both classes of commuters can now […]