News bits: Washington Post looks at the numbers behind commuter tax benefits

Emily Badger at The Washington Post took a look at the federal tax code and came to a conclusion: Congress would rather you drive to work than take public transit.

The federal tax code has a weird way of favoring people who drive to work over those who take public transit there. If you’re a driver, the federal commuter benefit allows you to spend up to $245 of your pre-tax income each month on parking at work. If you pay to take the bus or train instead, the benefit is only about half that — $130.

For several years now, transit advocates have gone back and forth with Congress trying to equalize the benefits (or remove the bias, depending on how you look at it). And for a brief and glorious period, the Recovery Act (and some extensions) temporarily did that. This year, however, for lack of action from Congress, the transit benefit shrank back to its old level. And now Chuck Schumer and several other members of Congress are trying to revive the issue during the lame-duck session.

Click through to read her take on practical arguments and the costs involved with transit in Washington and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Congress would rather you drive to work than take public transit [Washington Post]

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