Thursday, January 02, 2014

Public transit tax break slashed for 2014

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U.S. public transit users headed for work, school, or other tasks as 2014 began once again were receiving unequal fiscal pre-tax transport treatment from the federal government, something that was commonplace through 2008, though less so in recent years.

Congress adjourned in 2013 without renewing a $245 per month pre-tax set-aside for public transit users, allowing the amount to fall to just over half that amount, $130—all while comparative pre-tax offerings to auto users actually rise in 2014 by $5, to $250.

Observers note Congress is likely to reinstate the public transit pre-tax credit sometime this year, and it does have significant bipartisan support even within a contentious Congress. Its fate depends in part on whether a measure to restore the tax credit is advanced as a separate item or linked with other legislation.

Throughout December, American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and CEO Michael Melaniphy urged Congress to vote to extend the transit pre-tax benefit, noting, "Commuters who use public transportation and especially those with the longer commutes by rail, bus, or vanpools may see their annual commuting cost increase up to $1,380 a year based on a bias in the tax code that eliminates the parity between public transportation and auto users.