NTEU Statement on Need to Renew Mass Transit Benefit


 1/31/12:  Today, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley submitted a statement to the Senate Committee on Finance urging Congress to immediately renew the monthly mass transit subsidy benefit which expired at the end of 2011. The committee was holding a hearing on expired tax provisions and the negative impact that annual or biannual renewal has on taxpayers and businesses.

In her statement to the committee, Kelley noted that because Congress failed to extend the transit benefit and keep it equal to the parking benefit before the end of 2011, the monthly maximum transit amount had been reduced to $125 per month on January 1 of this year. Furthermore, she noted that while the monthly transit amount had been reduced, the monthly limit for the parking portion of the commuter benefit actually increased at the beginning of the year from $230 per month to $240 per month due to an automatic cost-of-living increase, further exacerbating the disparity between the transit and parking benefits.

Kelley's letter pointed out that many working people that use public transportation to get to and from work, rely on the transit benefit which has provided much needed relief in their commuting costs.  In addition, she noted that encouraging greater transit ridership helps lessen congestion on roadways, reduces pollution, and conserves energy.  Furthermore, she noted that it certainly makes no sense for the government to provide workers using environmentally helpful mass transit a lesser benefit than those driving and parking personal vehicles.

President Kelley urged the committee to include an extension of the mass transit subsidy in any “tax extenders” package Congress considers this year, and also urged them to support stand-alone legislation, S. 1034, the “Commuter Benefits Equity Act of 2011,” introduced by Senator Schumer (D-NY) which would permanently establish parity between the parking and mass transit portions of the transportation fringe benefit.

You can be assured that NTEU will continue working with our supporters in Congress on this issue and stands ready to do all it can to ensure this critical benefit for workers and employers is extended in the near future.  For more information and to see what you can do, go to www.nteu.org.