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Dear Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Levin:
As we near the close of the 112th Congress, the House continues to debate several crucial year end spending, fiscal and tax measures that will impact workers, families, businesses and communities across our nation. Balancing policies to address our federal deficient and aid our national economic recovery will demand thoughtful, bi-partisan deliberation.
As you contemplate these various measures, the transit industry urges you to reinstate federal excise tax credits for alternative fuels and related infrastructure and parity between transit/vanpool and parking fringes benefits. Both provisions expired at the end of 2011. The expiration of the alternative fuels tax credit forced many financially-strained transit agencies attempting to transition to cleaner, more efficient and ultimately cheaper running natural gas vehicles to shoulder more of the tremendous up-front capital costs associated with converting from fossil fueled fleets to more environmentally-friendly natural gas vehicles.
The elimination of parity between transit/vanpool and parking benefits resulted in the sharp reduction of transit/vanpool benefits from a maximum of $240 per month to a mere $125 per month. This past year, in the midst of our national economic challenges, millions depending on public transportation to travel to and from work experienced increased transit fares and reduced service along with slashed transit benefits. Sharply reduced transit benefits have contributed to recent decreases in public transportation ridership where many are reverting back to their automobiles; this trend adds to traffic congestion and CO2 emissions. Reinstating parity and increasing the transit benefit will be a substantial financial relief to transit-dependent workers across the country.
I thank you for your consideration to reinstate both provisions as they are critical to supporting public transportation and, in turn, our economic recovery. If you have any questions, please have your staff contact, Brian Tynan, APTA’s Director of Government Affairs at (202) 496-4897 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.