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Senate Passes Tax Package Without Transit Benefits or Alternative Fuel Tax Credits; No Vote on Measure in the House

This past weekend, the Senate overwhelmingly (89-10) passed a bill extending the current payroll tax rate and unemployment insurance until the end of February 2012. Despite extensive advocacy efforts, the bill does not include extensions of transit fringe benefits or the alternative fuel tax credit.  As Passenger Transport EXPRESS went to press, the House did not support this bill.  While Congress could return this year to reconcile their differences on the tax bill, it appears unlikely that they will deal with the transit commuter benefit and alternative fuel tax credit by January 1 when they expire. APTA intends to continue to work on these issues in an effort to see them extended early in 2012.

Contact your Congressional delegations, especially members of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee, and urge them to include these items in any future tax legislation:

Stress to your elected officials that there is still time to correct this problem. Urge them to make these provisions a priority in any negotiations over tax legislation.

Public Transit Riders Still Reap Big Savings Despite Lower Gas Prices
Even with lower gas prices, public transportation still offers individuals a way to save hundreds of dollars each month.  APTA's December Transit Savings Report notes that individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can save, on average, $807 this month, and $9,684 annually!  These savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the December 20, 2011 average national gas price ($3.21 per gallon- reported by AAA) and the national unreserved monthly parking rate.

save the date

Be sure to make plans to attend the Marketing & Communications Workshop in Miami, FL, February 26-29.  Topics at this workshop will include social media, crisis communications, market research, and methods for reaching new audiences.  

in the media

Chicago’s CTA is going to the movies! It’s introducing DVD rental boxes in a number of “L” stations – so riders can pick up a film or video game on their way home. Why install them? It’s a direct result of public feedback on the amenities they want!

In Washington, DC, people turn to Google for their public transportation information. Two of the top 10 search terms for Google this year were public transit systems: the hometown Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

While TSA is known for being in airports, its reach keeps expanding, with riders in more and more cities seeing agents at train, bus, and AMTRAK stations – trying approaches on how to conduct the most effective random searches.

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