Schumer Amendment: Make Transit Tax Benefit Equal to Parking Benefit

The last piece of the Senate’s two-year transportation reauthorization proposal will be marked up by the Finance Committee tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. The committee was tasked with finding approximately $12 billion to bridge the projected shortfall of the Highway Trust Fund over the life of the bill. So far, according to a summary released by Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), they have found a little over $10.4 billion:

Sen. Schumer had made restoring the pre-tax commuter transit benefit a priority in 2012. Photo: ##http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1011/65590.html##AP##
  • $3.7 billion transferred from the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund, already funded by a slice of the federal gas tax
  • $2.8 billion from reducing a tax credit on certain biofuels
  • $2.5 billion from taxes on imported cars, redirected from the general fund to the HTF
  • $0.7 billion from the “gas guzzler tax,” also redirected from the general fund
  • $0.7 in back taxes collected after revoking passports of serious offenders, assuming offenders would rather pay the feds than lose their passport

Furthermore, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has sponsored an amendment that would restore parity between the pre-tax commuter benefits for transit and parking. There had been parity between transit and parking pre-tax benefits since the Stimulus Act was passed in 2009, but the transit benefit was slashed in half — from $230 a month to $125 — when the measure expired on January 1st. Schumer’s amendment would make the parity permanent.

Live updates will be available tomorrow on twitter (#TranspoMarkup).

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

House Nixes Funding for Transit Service. Where Is Schumer?

|
Chuck, what about keeping transit affordable? Last night’s news about the denial of Rep. DeFazio’s amendment to fund transit operations left us wondering whether parliamentary issues were really the deciding factor. In general, it appears, the Democratic leadership is coming down hard against any add-ons to the recovery package. "There’s a desire to keep the […]

Commuter Transit Tax Break Could Reclaim Parity With Parking in 2012

|
As Congress prepares to reconvene and take up the payroll tax cut extension yet again, a movement is forming to restore the transit commuter tax benefit to 2011 levels. Transit advocates across America were disheartened when Congress failed to maintain parity between the transit and parking pre-tax commuting benefits last month. On New Year’s Day, […]

Tell Your Senator to Support Transit and Green Jobs, Not Highways

|
Update: Hold those phone calls, folks. Schumer has co-sponsored the Murray/Feinstein amendment, making it highly unlikely that he will offer his own, superior amendment. There are more amendments in the wings — supported by Senate Republicans and some surprising Democrats — that would give highway builders even greater leeway to build dirty, traffic-generating boondoggles. We’ll […]