Business & Finance

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

cac89f43406074c7118a_image002.jpg
cac89f43406074c7118a_image002.jpg

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:

Sign Up for E-News

East Orange/Orange

Adults Step Up and Speak Out to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse

April 18, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ — The East Orange YMCA is marking National Child Abuse Prevention Month with Five Days of Action, April 16-20. Leading up to Healthy Kids Day, a national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids, Five Days of Action raises awareness on how adults can step up and speak out to prevent child sexual abuse.

“By encouraging adults to step up and speak out, ...

COMMUNITY COMES OUT IN RECORD NUMBERS FOR EAST ORANGE EARTH DAY CITYWIDE CLEAN UP

April 24, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ, - East Orange Mayor Ted Green and the East Orange City Council, along with over 500 volunteers, took to the streets to clean up targeted neighborhoods throughout East Orange during the Earth Day Citywide Clean-Up on Sat, April 21, 2018. The event was coordinated under the direction of the Department of Public Works.

Approximately 40 teams comprised of employees, residents, ...

Essex County Announces Partnership with Nine Local Charitable Organizations

April 16, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Essex County will participating in nine special partnerships to increase awareness about and help raise funds for the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, the Arc of Essex County, the New Jersey Children Alliance, Stop for Nikhil, The Valerie Fund, the Arthritis Foundation, the Saint Barnabas Medical Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and ...

Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul

As a business owner, you are automatically in sales - regardless of what type of business you are in. Most of us think of sales as something that is uncomfortable and even icky. There are numerous derogatory jokes about the so-called "used-car salesman". We often get mad with sales people who ring our doorbells, we hang up on sales calls, and we even block ads on our internet ...

Keeping it Professional in Person and Online

When you want to attract quality clients, it’s imperative to be consistent in the way you deal with people -whether it’s in person or online. You need to use professional words, have a professional attitude, and act in a professional manner.

Social Media

It can be hard to remember, but even when you’re on your personal Facebook page, something you say there can end up ...

How to Get Potential Clients to Feel Confident About Your Ability

For people to contract with you, they need to have confidence in you. They need to know that you’re going to do what you say you’ll do. But, how can they know this before you work with them? There are plenty of signs that they’ll look at to determine if you’re trustworthy.

* Do What You Say You Will – Whether it’s in a group, one-on-one, or otherwise, ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_2d432cc950f356da2c6b_f60eae2b69ee186ab2c9_f5f3362648b4a25a99d4_screen_shot_2018-04-22_at_1.02.36_pm

Sat, April 28, 3:00 PM

Abraham Clark High School - Auditorium, Roselle

Roselle's First Circle of Sisters Expo Community ...

Go Red for Women Luncheon Inspires Heart Health in Northern New Jersey

April 23, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — In support of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Go Red for Women campaign, a lifesaving movement that raises funding for cutting-edge research focused on cardiovascular health and celebrates women’s ability to inspire others to fight heart disease and stroke, hundreds of women attended April’s ninth annual Northern New Jersey Go Red luncheon at ...