We already know transit fares are going up for many riders in 2012. Metra riders will pay 25% more to get around our region, and CTA fare hikes are still on the table. But because of Washington's failure to act by the end of 2011, you may be paying even more for transit this year!
Transit riders and drivers can pay their fares and parking expenses with pre-tax dollars out of their paycheck. Transit riders receive this commuter benefit through their employers and were able to save more than $1,000 each year on their transit expenses. But as of Jan. 1, the maximum monthly transit benefit dropped from $230 to $125, while the parking benefit increased from $230 to $240.
In order to preserve the transit fare benefit at $230 and to maintain equity with the parking benefit, our federal representatives needed to vote for a bill that would have guaranteed permanent parity between the two. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get it done. (Check out the bill and its sponsors here.)
Transit riders deserve equal benefits. This represents a tax increase that will feel like a second fare hike for many transit riders.
It's not too late to restore the transit benefit. Tell your members of Congress to take action now. Transit riders in the Chicago region can’t afford to take another hit!