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People walking are five times as likely to be killed by a driver traveling 30 mph as one going 20 mph.

Let's restore equity to commuter benefit

Six members of Congress from the Chicago region recently urged Congressional leadership to restore equity to the widely popular commuter benefit that currently favors drivers over those who ride public transit to work in Chicago and across the country.

The commuter benefit is an employer-provided federal tax benefit that allows commuters to purchase transit passes, carpooling rides or parking tax free. Citing the many benefits of riding transit, the members called attention to the gap between the monthly limit for the parking benefit – $250 per month – and the transit benefit, only $130 per month.

The benefits were the same until Congress failed to act last year, allowing the transit benefit to drop from $245 to $130 per month, while the parking benefit rose $5 a month.

In their joint letter to the chairman and ranking minority member of the House Ways and Means Committee, the members said this drop costs transit riders as much as $100 per month.

All six members who signed the letter are currently co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill in the House (Commuter Parity Act – H.R. 2288) to restore parity to the benefit, including Representatives Dan Lipinski, Mike Quigley, Brad Schneider, Bill Foster, Tammy Duckworth and Jan Schakowsky.

Riding transit helps reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and save energy throughout the region.

Join our local members of congress and transit supporters across the country in urging congress to take immediate action to restore parity between the parking and transit benefits. The commuter benefit should apply equitably, regardless of how one gets to work.

Sign on to a letter to your local member of Congress here.