With a little help from Congress, commuters relying on mass transit to get to work could lose a significant chunk of change next year.
Starting on Jan. 1, the federal commuter tax benefit will drop from $245 to $130 per month. According to a Friday Washington Post report, that could cost some regular users almost $1,000 in 2014.
While mass transit riders are facing reduced benefits, the same can’t be said for drivers. The Post noted that commuter parking tax benefits will rise from $245 to $250 per month.
“This is the biggest disparity between the two components of the commuter benefit that we have ever seen,” Natasha Rankin, executive director of the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation, told the paper. “For those who rely on mass transit, where you also have increasing costs, this is a double hit.”… (more)
Transit credits expire while local fares increase, and Muni plans to request an additional $3 billion in November. Voters may vote for a shift in priorities instead.
WASHINGTON — New documents reveal that a high-ranking official in the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) knew that Fort Lee, N.J., had issues with traffic congestion around the George Washington Bridge, long before he authorized a seemingly unnecessary study that closed down lanes to the bridge and made traffic even worse.
Fort Lee is an essential access point to New York City, serving as the gateway to the George Washington Bridge, which is the busiest bridge in the United States. In November 2010, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich (D) wrote to Bill Baroni, deputy director of the Port Authority of New York and Jersey, and complained of traffic problems in the borough. The letter was obtained by The Record in a public records request
“On approximately 20 occasions in the last forty days, our Borough has been completely gridlocked,” wrote Sokolich to Baroni, who was Christie’s top official at the Port Authority. “Traveling from the south to the north end of our Borough takes upwards of one hour. Our safety vehicles are unable to traverse our own thoroughfares to attend to emergencies which place our residents in harms way.”… (more)
Alleged planned traffic congestion makes the national news. Public records request revealed enough evidence to resulted in layoffs, and may mushroom into a bigger disaster for the accused perpetrators.