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Public Statements

Commuter Savings Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. HAYWORTH. As a frequent rider and former commuter on New York's mass transit system, I know how important public transportation is.

Alone, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA, transports more than 8.5 million commuters across metropolitan New York every day. In the district I'm privileged to serve--New York's 19th Congressional District--which includes Westchester, Orange, Rockland, Dutchess, and Putnam Counties, the MTA's 31 Metro-North Railroad stations serve 11,000 passengers every weekday.

Our Hudson Valley's mass transit commuters lost part of their recent tax credits for employer-provided mass transit benefits as of January 1 of this year. Commuters utilizing the mass transit portion have seen their credits drop from $230 per month to $125 per month, which means that their commuting costs have increased. In contrast, commuters utilizing the driving and parking benefits have seen an automatic increase from $230 per month to $240 per month, which is why I introduced the Commuter Savings Act on June 29.

This legislation would extend parity between the mass transit and parking portions of the transportation tax credit, which would increase mass transit benefits from $125 per month to $240 per month. Mass transit minimizes traffic congestion, reduces fuel consumption, and limits the wear and tear on our roads and bridges. It's really a great win for all of us even if we don't use mass transit. The Commuter Savings Act will directly help more than 70,000 of our Hudson Valley neighbors, and the bill is retroactive to January 1 of this year, which will provide mass transit commuters with a full 2 years of certainty in their mass transit benefits.

For the tens of thousands of Hudson Valley residents and millions of Americans across the country who rely on safe and affordable public transportation and for all of us who enjoy the benefits of those fellow Americans using mass transit, I urge my colleagues to join me and my fellow primary cosponsors, Representatives Peter King and BOB DOLD, in giving our mass transit commuters a break in these tough economic times.

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