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Dear Chairman Baucus and Senator Grassley:
On behalf of the more than 1,500 members of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), I write to express our strong support for the extension of tax provisions important to public transportation agencies and their riders.
The public transportation industry seeks the extension of the alternative fuels tax credit, both retroactively and through 2011 at a minimum. We appreciate the efforts of the committee to include the retroactive extension of this provision in prior versions of tax-extenders legislation, but with the adoption of provisions extending unemployment insurance, the alternative fuels tax credit extension was not retained in H.R. 4213. We strongly urge the committee to advance the retroactive extension of this important tax-credit in Senate tax legislation at the earliest opportunity, and we further urge you to provide a long-term extension of the provision as proposed in the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2009 (S.1408).
The uncertainty surrounding the extension of this provision has the potential to discourage future investment in natural gas fleets and fueling infrastructure necessary to support them. Further, transit agencies that have committed investments into natural gas fleets have counted on the tax credit being in place and the lack of an extension is affecting operating budgets at a very difficult financial time for these agencies. The extension of the tax credit will improve the affordability and diversity of agency fueling options, while also reducing the emission of harmful greenhouse gases and demonstrating a national commitment to a long-term strategy for energy security.
APTA also urges the committee to permanently extend the mass transit commuter tax benefit at the level equivalent to the monthly parking benefit, as enacted under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The ARRA transit commuter tax provision established parity with the tax-free parking benefits available to commuters who drive, but the provision expires on December 31, 2010. Both transit commuting employees and their employers see a reduction in their tax liability as a result of this provision. Failure to extend the commuter benefit will effectively raise taxes on participating transit riders and employers at a time when we should be encouraging transit ridership for the environmental, energy, economic, and quality of life benefits it provides. Furthermore, federal tax law should not show a bias for one means of commuting over another. Legislation to permanently equalize the transit and parking benefits – the Commuter Benefits Equity Act of 2009 (S.322) – has been introduced by Senator Charles Schumer.
Thank you for your consideration or our views. If you should have any questions, please have your staff contact Brian Tynan at (202) 496-4897 or email email@example.com.