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King pushes tax credit expansion for LIRR, other commuters

U.S. Rep. Peter King, pictured in Great Neck

U.S. Rep. Peter King, pictured in Great Neck on Sept. 2, 2015, is pushing for federal tax credits for LIRR, other commuters. Credit: Jeremy Bales

U.S. Rep. Peter King is spearheading the latest effort to expand a federal tax credit for those who take public transportation to work, a change that would affect hundreds of thousands of New York City-area commuters, including LIRR riders.

King (R-Seaford) and Rep. Dan Lipinski submitted a letter Tuesday to the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee urging officials to include the commuter transit tax benefit in a package of tax extenders representatives will look at by the end of the year.

King and Lipinski (D-Illinois), with the signatures of 52 other legislators, are pushing to increase the tax credit to $245 per month. The credit, which allows employees to use pretax income to pay for transportation costs, has spent the last several years oscillating between cuts and increases.

The credit was cut to $130 in 2014, then retroactively increased to $250, but only for 2014. Meanwhile, another parking tax credit that initially matched the transit credit has remained the same at $250. The gap between the two credits encourages more workers to drive, King and Lipinski argued.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority's systems carry more than 8.7 million passengers on an average weekday, according to the MTA's website.; the Long Island Rail Road handles 298,448 passengers, Metro North carries 289,340 and New York City's subways and buses serve 7,676,063 passengers.

Commuter advocates said Thursday that they supported the renewed push to restore the credit. Jason Pavluchuk, government affairs director for the Washington-based Association for Commuter Transportation, said he thinks the diversity of the supporting representatives indicates a positive future for the credit.

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