Himes Helps Pass Bill to Renew Transit Benefit
Washington, DC — Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today voted for legislation (H.R. 5771) that would retroactively extend a federal, pre-tax commuter benefit that helps thousands of employees in Connecticut save money on their commute to and from work. The provision was included in a larger package that would allow individuals and businesses to claim dozens of lapsed tax breaks for the current 2014 tax year.
"With the expense of commuting continuing to rise, this commuter tax benefit has become even more critical for Fairfield County residents, who already face a high cost of living,” Himes said. “In addition to making Metro-North more affordable for Fairfield County commuters, this tax credit also provides small businesses and job creators with a financial incentive to help their employees boost their disposable incomes. We should be encouraging – not discouraging – people to use public transportation so we can ease congestion on our roads and improve our environment, and this tax benefit does just that.”
The bill restores a provision that previously let commuters deduct up to $245 each month from their pre-tax paychecks to cover their mass-transit commute. The provision expired at end of 2013, reducing the pre-tax savings to only $130 in 2014. Meanwhile, commuters who drive to work are eligible to set aside as much as $250 per month, up from $245 in 2013, for pre-tax parking expenses.
Himes has consistently fought to renew the transit benefit. He is a cosponsor of the Commuter Parity Act (H.R. 2288), which would permanently extend the parity between parking and transit and allow for annual cost-of-living adjustments.
About 3 million commuters nationwide take advantage of the transit portion of the commuter benefit program, according to Commuter Benefits Work for Us, a transportation advocacy group.