Thursday, December 29, 2011

As New Year begins, transit benefits shrink

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Parking commuter benefits will rise from $230 to $240 per month in 2012, but corresponding public transit user benefits provided by employers will be cut severely, due to the inability of Congress to reach consensus on the matter. 

LIRR M-7 BombardierAs 2011 ended, the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) observed, “The Senate failed to include an extension of public transit benefits in the legislation the body passed to extend lower payroll tax rates and unemployment benefits. Thus, even if the House passes the bill and it is enacted, the transit benefits that employers can provide tax-free will be slashed from $230 to $125 per month.”

The parking commuter benefit increase is justified as an inflation adjustment, but the move clearly runs counter to any long-term push for U.S. energy self-sufficiency, according to NARP and other rail industry observers, as well as editorials from the (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger.

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