On the Introduction of the Transit Parity Act of 2013by Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton
Posted on 2013-12-12
of the district of columbia
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, today, I introduce the Transit Parity Act of
2013. The bill will extend federal tax benefits for mass transit and
parking at current levels for one year. There is currently a permanent
provision providing federal tax benefits for parking and mass transit;
however, the mass transit benefit is funded at half the level of the
parking benefit. The mass transit benefit was temporarily raised this
year, but with cuts to the mass transit benefit set to occur on January
1, 2014, impacts will be felt throughout this region and the country.
Millions of people commute in and out of cities every day, bolstering their economies and improving the overall wellbeing of the country, with this region as a prime example. Why would we want to encourage people to drive rather than use mass transit? At the very least, there is no excuse for preferential treatment of driving.
I support a permanent equalization of commuter benefits, but given the costs associated with a permanent extension, the focus of this bill is a temporary one-year extension of benefits. I will seek to bring this bill to the floor before Congress adjourns for the year. If the bill is not passed before then, I will seek retroactive equalization of benefits.
The bill will continue to encourage commuters to use mass transit by equalizing tax [[Page E1868]] benefits for mass transit and parking. Congress did the sensible thing when it increased the commuter benefit cap to $245 per month, the same as for parking earlier this year. Unless Congress takes action now, however, mass transit benefits will decrease by nearly 50 percent, to $130, while the benefit for parking will increase to $250. However, this bill makes federal tax benefits for mass transit and parking equal at $250 in 2014. I support a permanent equalization of commuter benefits, but given the costs associated with a permanent extension, the focus of this bill is on a one-year extension of equal benefits.
I strongly urge my colleagues to support the legislation.