ARRA Lowers Transit Expenses

With all the 'shovel-ready' talk focused on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, gone unnoticed by many was the huge increase in the transit costs that can be included in the pretax program to assist commuters - $230/month can now be included.

"Under the 11-year-old Qualified Transportation Fringe commuter tax benefits program, money for (transit) can be set aside pretax by employers for employees. Under the stimulus bill signed in February, the pretax amount allowed for individual commuters nearly doubled, to $230 a month.

"For employees, it's an approximately 35 percent to 40 percent saving on their transit costs," said Steve Rossen, an account manager at Massachusetts-based Commuter Check, one of several companies that work with employers to administer the program.

If a commuter spends, say, $500 a month on commute costs such as parking, ferry trips, bus or BART, that commuter now doesn't have to pay taxes on $230 of those dollars.

The number may increase because the City of San Francisco mandated in January that companies employing more than 20 people in the city more than 10 hours a week must offer the benefit, Rossen said.

To enroll in the program, employees should contact their employers' human resources departments. In the Bay Area, has an outreach program to help employers get started."

Thanks to MTC-ABAG Library

Full Story: Stimulus bill makes some commutes cheaper



Michael Lewyn's picture


...since few employers have any interest in this program. If the feds want to support transit they should support commuters or transit agencies directly!

Squeaky wheels...

...get greased. It is up to interested employees to be persistent in pushing the adoption of a Commuter Check program by their employers.

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