Absent Congressional action, commuters in the U.S. will start the new year with a hit to their pocketbooks. Under H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, mass transit and parking tax benefits were extended to January 1, 2014.
On New Year’s Day, the mass transit subsidy is set to decline to $130 per month from $145; for people who drive to work, their subsidy will increase by $5 each month, to $250. It seems unlikely that Congress will act before the January 1 deadline — so far this year, only 56 laws have been enacted and 315 resolutions passed. The last day currently scheduled for the House to be in session is December 13.
NPR showcased the divide over the issue. Some, like Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), want to see an extension of the subsidy for commuters. ”We’ve heard lots of talk about fiscal cliffs, a dairy cliff, but at the end of the year, we are facing a transit commuter cliff,” Blumenauer said, according to NPR.