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January 4, 2013
Commuter Benefit Returns to Parking Parity

This week, Congress passed legislation to make the public transit commuter benefit equal to the federal tax benefit for parking. The change would increase the transit benefit from $125 per month to $240, where the IRS has set the current parking benefit. This was a part of the “fiscal cliff” legislation. The cliff was a combination of sizable tax increases from the Congressional budget sequestration legislation set to automatically take effect at the beginning of 2013.

The measure also extends through 2013, retroactive to Dec. 31, 2011, provisions in the tax code providing a tax credit for a portion of costs associated with alternative fuel use by public transit systems. 

In response to the commuter benefit legislation, APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy said in a statement: “For 2013, there is no longer a financial bias in the federal tax code against public transit use. This has always been an issue of fairness, and public transit advocates are pleased that the federal tax code will again provide transit riders with the same tax benefits accorded to those who drive to work.”

APTA Urges Swift Passage of Hurricane Sandy Supplemental
Last week, as the 112th Congress came to a close, APTA sent a letter requesting action on the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental. APTA continues to focus on this issue as the 113th Congress begins. This morning, the House of Representatives passed an initial $9.7 billion in flood insurance by a vote of 354-67. Consideration of further assistance, including transit-specific aid, is expected to occur on Jan. 15.

LaHood Announces 2011 and 2012 as Great Years for New Starts

According to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, FTA signed more capital construction agreements through its New Starts and Small Starts program in Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012 than in any two-year period in the agency's history. He noted that the revised approach streamlines the public transit approval process so it will be easier to submit projects in the coming years.


To complement APTA Chair Flora Castillo's theme for her term, “Public Transportation: It’s All About the People,” we are seeking photos of your employees "on the job." We will be using these photos throughout the year in a number of ways to highlight this initiative. Just click above to learn more about how to celebrate these industry professionals.


The CTA Holiday train was out in force in Chicago spreading cheer and awareness for the system’s charity food drive. The car has seasonal images and thousands of twinkling lights outlining the shape of the train and windows.

Systems across the country serve their riders from dawn to dusk and all hours in between. When you see it represented by LED lights on a black background, the role public transportation serves becomes even more evident. This PBS story looks at multiple systems represented this way. 

The morning commute might be getting a little jazzier for riders of RTA in Cleveland. A year-long program called “Transit Tracks” began Dec. 20 with the Townsmen, a jazz ensemble playing at the Tower City Station.

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