Business & Finance

Menendez, Booker, Payne Deliver Holiday Gift for NJ Transit Riders: Tax Breaks


MONTCLAIR, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez joined U.S. Senator Cory Booker and Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (N.J.-10), at New Jersey Transit’s (NJT) Walnut Station in Montclair Monday to urge transit commuters to take advantage of new federal tax benefits to help pay the cost of rising bus and train fares. 

The federal spending and tax package, approved by Congress and signed into law last week, included a provision co-authored by Sen. Menendez that increases the maximum monthly commuter tax benefit for transit riders, and brings it permanently in line with the benefit enjoyed by those who drive to work.  Beginning Jan. 1, those who rely on public transportation can set aside up to $255 per month in pre-tax earnings to pay their commuting expenses, amounting to an estimated annual savings of over $1,000 for transit riders who recently were forced to absorb a 9% NJT fare hike.

“Transit parity is real, substantive tax relief for middle and working class Americans.  It is real money back in the pockets of cash-strapped transit riders,” said Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate Banking mass transit subcommittee and a member of the Senate Finance Committee that handles federal tax policy.  “Incentivizing mass transit is the right thing to do, especially in such a densely populated state like New Jersey.  It gets people out of their cars and off our roads.  It reduces traffic congestion and air pollution, and it improves the overall quality of life for residents.”

Sign Up for E-News

“As transit users are forced to bear the brunt of fare hikes, this transit tax credit could put more than $1000 back in commuters’ pockets annually while finally providing some much-needed parity with those who drive to work,” said Booker, the top-ranking Democrat on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, which has jurisdiction over passenger rail in the U.S.  “While this bill is far from perfect, I am pleased to see it include provisions that save New Jersey commuters’ hard-earned dollars while increasing investments in our region’s crumbling infrastructure.  Continued robust funding like this for the New Starts program bodes well for critical infrastructure projects like Gateway that will provide much-needed relief for commuters and help boost our economy.”

“Mass transit is a lifeline for so many people in my district who depend on it every single day to go about their lives,” said Payne, Jr.  “So expanding and making permanent the transit tax break is a huge victory for commuters in our state. They deserve, and can now rightfully benefit from, the same tax break as people who drive. By making transit and parking benefits equal, we will not only encourage more commuters to take public transportation, we will no longer penalize people for choosing mass transit over driving.”

With the monthly maximum transit benefit increased to $255 in 2016, it will cover 100% of a $210 monthly rail pass between Montclair and New York Penn Station, and similarly will cover 100% of a $254 monthly pass from Metropark to Princeton.  Had parity not been restored, these percentages would have been 62% and 51% respectively.  It will also cover 100% of a $181 monthly bus pass between Glassboro and Philadelphia, compared to just 72% without parity.

Until now, commuters who drive to work have traditionally received disproportionately greater tax relief than their counterparts who take public transportation.  This year, motorists were able to set aside up to $250 monthly in pre-tax earnings to cover their commuting expenses, compared to just $130 a month for bus, train and ferry riders.

Menendez has co-sponsored the Commuter Benefits Equity Act in the last four Congresses to permanently correct the disparity between the transit and parking tax benefit, and successfully introduced it with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) as a provision of the final federal spending and tax package.

”We thank our tri-state federal delegation for pushing to create permanent parity to the commuter tax benefit for transit riders. Providing the same tax benefit to transit riders that drivers receive with a parking benefit is balanced and progressive fiscal policy. It also provides another monetary incentive to use buses, subways and rails. This makes sense for our environment and economy,” said Veronica Vanterpool, executive director Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

The federal lawmakers also touted several other provisions contained in the so-called omnibus legislation to improve New Jersey’s and the nation’s transportation infrastructure:

  • New Starts Transit Program – Provides $2.2 billion, a $57 million increase over current funding levels to fund the design and construction of new transit lines, or extensions of existing lines.  NJT could apply for this funding in the coming months to fund the planned Hudson-Bergen Light Rail West Side extension in Jersey City, and it’s a program that could be a significant source of funding for the Gateway Hudson River rail tunnel project once it receives design and environmental clearances.


  • Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants – Provides $500 million for TIGER grants, which go to our nation's infrastructure projects that make communities more livable and sustainable.  The U.S. Dept. of Transportation (USDOT) this year awarded $16 million towards constructing the 105-year-old Portal Bridge replacement.


  • Airport Improvement Grants – Provides $3.35 billion for the Airport Improvement Grant program, which distributes grants to airports across the state, such as Newark, Teterboro Airport, and Atlantic City International Airport, for critically-needed infrastructure projects to enhance capacity and reduce congestion, as well as to improve safety and reduce aircraft noise and emissions. These airport projects also support thousands of contractor jobs in the state.


  • Amtrak – Provides $1.39 billion for Amtrak, which is chosen by 78 percent of passengers traveling between New York and Washington, D.C. over air travel.


  • FAST Act – Fully funds highway and transit programs at levels provided for in the recent transportation bill—including $600 million next year in guaranteed transit funding for New Jersey, and $1 billion in guaranteed highway funding.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Orange/Orange

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey

July 12, 2018

How often do you read TAPinto?  Have you downloaded the TAPinto APP?  These are a few of the questions for readers in our 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

We want to hear from you!

The survey will take less than five minutes to complete and will help TAPinto better serve you. 

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

Thank you.  We appreciate your support and ...

2nd Annual Love & Not Hate March Today in East Orange

July 13, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ - This morning the Rev. Al Sharpton will join East Orange Mayor Ted Green for their 2nd Annual Love & Not Hate March against gun violence at 8:00 AM. 

The March will begin at Hollywood Ave & Central Avenue in East Orange and will work its way to Oval Park. Once at the park there will be youth activities, vendors, music, school give-a-ways and much more.

How to Create a Powerful Case Study In-House

Last time, we looked at several popular niches for case studies. In this article, we want to outline a basic process for creating your own case studies using your in-house data.

1. Choose a Topic of Broad Interest

Chances are you have several projects you have worked on recently that would make a good case study. Choose one and start gathering your materials.

2. Choose a ...

Even More Valuable Case Study Topics

In the last article, we looked at finance and marketing topics that would make ideal case studies. This time, we want to continue looking at case studies that can help even complete beginners to the world of business improve their skills. We will look at customer relations, leadership and self-help topics.

Customer Relations

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, but it can be ...

More Essential Niches for Case Studies

Last time, we discussed how valuable business-related case studies can be in showing the way to success for aspiring entrepreneurs. In this article, we will be discussing two more important categories, finance and marketing. 


Finance case studies can offer valuable guidance for small businesses. Topics include:

* Budgeting

* Best accounting practices

  Automation ...