Hultgren to Transportation Conferees: Restore Tax Break for CommutersFriday May 18, 2012
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) is asking each Congressional conferee who will decide the fate of this year’s transportation authorization bill to consider commuters.
Conferees from Illinois include U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Jerry Costello (IL-12).
On January 1, 2012, commuters using public transit to get to work saw their transit benefit almost cut in half, while the benefit for people choosing to drive to work increased slightly.
Hultgren has asked that conferees preserve Section 40204 of the Senate’s Map-21 bill (S.1813), which would extend parity for public transit commuters at $240 through December 31, 2012.
“Why would we punish people taking the train or subway to work, while simultaneously rewarding people who drive and then park at the office?” said Hultgren. “It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
Hultgren also reminded conferees of a letter originally sent to the House Rules and Ways and Means Committees on this topic in April. Full text of that letter can be found here.
The April letter was cosigned by a bipartisan group of 34 House members. It states, “If we do not act quickly, millions of middle-class transit and vanpool riders who generally live in suburban settings and have the longest and most expensive commutes will continue to be taxed more than their fellow commuters who drive alone to work.
“This inequity will force many commuters out of trains, buses and vanpools, and back into their cars leading to increases in congestion, fuel consumption, lost production and wasted time.”
Co-signers of the April letter included seven other members of the Illinois delegation: Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05), Rep. Bobby Schilling (IL-17), Rep. Judy Biggert (IL-13), Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-03), Rep. Bob Dold (IL-10), Rep. Bobby Rush (IL-01), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) and Rep. Tim Johnson (IL-15).