Union, transit groups call for extension of commuter benefits

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“Many of these employees, already subject to a two-year pay freeze, are struggling in the current economic climate, and a reduction in these benefits would impose a severe financial burden on them,” she continued.

Kelly added that “retaining the current monthly commuter transit subsidy also encourages greater transit ridership, which helps lessen congestion on roadways, reduces pollution and conserves energy.

“Workers using environmentally helpful mass transit should not be provided a lesser benefit than those driving and parking personal vehicles,” she said. 

The American Public Transportation Association has also argued for an extension of the tax, saying failure to do so would create "a financial bias  in the federal tax code against public transit use.

“If the transit commuter benefit is allowed to expire, it will serve as a tax increase on transit riders and their employers,” APTA President Michael Melaniphy said this week in a statement. "It will amount to allowing payroll taxes to increase on both employees and the employers who offer the benefits.  People should have reasonable transportation choices and federal tax law should maintain a level playing field for those choices.”