Update on National Legislation22-Dec-2011
Transportation Bill Update
Several issues have plagued the news with regard to transportation. The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) reported this week that the House of Representatives delayed an update on releasing the transportation bill. In addition, the House will look to address the bill when they return from their recess in late January, early February. On the Senate side, although the Senate may still see a transit title come out of the House Banking Committee they will not be able to mark the bill up before the holidays.
Commuter Tax Benefit Parity Update
According to the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) the Senate agreed to a 2-month extension of the payroll tax holiday over the weekend but did NOT include an extension of the transit benefit parity. As a result, effective January 1, 2012 the maximum transit/commuter vehicle tax benefit will be reduce from $230 per month to $125 per month. However, ACT reports they were told by Senate champions that they are hopeful to reestablish parity shortly after the New Year. They noted grassroots efforts such as http://commuterbenefitsworkforus.com resulted in many bi-partisan letters of support from Congressional members. CTAI will continue to work with the Idaho Congressional Delegation to reestablish parity. In addition, CTAI will continue to promote the value of ridesharing and vanpooling, which still provides cash savings for riders, reduces congestion, and keeps the Idaho environment clean. Take a moment of your time to contact your elected official to let them know you would like this tax benefit restored!
Operating Assistance Bill Update
CTAA reported Congressmen Carnahan (Missouri) and LaTourette (Ohio) helped secure 133 cosponsors for H.R. 3200 in the House of Representative, including 13 republicans. In addition, all Democrats and 5 Republicans of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members are supporting the bill. H.R. 3200 would allow transit systems flexibility with their Section 5307 funds to pay for operating expenses. Senator Shared Brown from Ohio introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S. 1992 that would allow urban transit systems this same flexibility. CTAA will be working to gather cosponsors to build support for this bill.