House Dem pushes for transit tax break revival

House Dem pushes for transit tax break revival
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A House Democrat is pushing lawmakers to revive a tax break for commuters who take public transportation to work that was cut at the beginning of this year. 

The amount of their monthly incomes that transit riders are allowed to set aside before taxes for their commutes to work was reduced from $240 to $130 in January, over the objection of public transit advocates who argued that a similar tax break for drivers who park in garages was left unchanged.  

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) is pushing lawmakers to revisit the transit break before the conclusion of the lame-duck session of Congress that is expected to be wrapped up next month. 


“With 2.7 million commuters using the transit benefit to get from home to work, Congress should take action to ensure that riders of public transportation are provided with the same benefits as other commuters,” Lipinski wrote in a letter to leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman. 

“Moreover, Congress should ensure that the benefit is restored in order to continue efforts to encourage public transportation ridership, which helps get cars off the road, reduce emissions, and eliminate lost time and delays,” he continued. “As Congress seeks to improve our economy and create jobs, helping people get to work must be a priority.”

The transit tax break was originally increased to $240 in the 2009 economic stimulus package. The benefit was reduced when the stimulus ended in 2011, but it was later restored in the 2012 bill to push back the implementation of sequestration until early 2013.

The extension was only for one year, however, so the benefit returned to $130 again on Jan. 1.

Supporters of the push to revisit the transit tax break issue during the lame-duck session have gained some powerful allies in Congress, but thus far House Republican leaders have shown little appetite for embracing the proposal.