In 2009, the Transportation Fringe Benefit transit benefit maximum was increased from $120.00 to $230.00 per month as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). For the first time, there was parity - a level playing field between transit benefits and parking benefits. This was designed as a temporary benefit for one year - but was extended for another year in 2010. We had been hopeful that this year, parity would be made permanent.
Unfortunately, this holiday season, there is no room at the inn for transit benefits. Short of any last minute heroics by Congress, the transit benefit allowance will roll back to $125/month, while the parking benefit will increase to $240/month. While we have been working hard with members of Congress to pass a bill that will preserve the benefit at its current level, it is looking very unlikely that anything will be done yet in 2011.
As you prepare your benefits submissions for January, please be mindful of the new benefit level, and adjust your accounts accordingly. Remember, if you use Commuter Direct, the deadline is the 10th of each month, and the 15th for WMATA customers. For more information on your account, please contact your benefit provider. We are hopeful that Congress will work to restore parity in 2012.
Preserving parity is an important policy issue for a number of reasons. For one, it helps employers save money on taxes while providing a valued benefit for employees. It also helps reduce congestion in the area, limits commuting impact on the environment, and allows for healthier employees!
Please continue to check www.arlingtontransportationpartners.com for updates. For information on the transit benefit program, and how you can engage Congress to re-establish parity with the parking benefit, please contact your ATP representative at 703.247.9299, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org