Cubic Transportation Systems announced its opposition to the proposed cuts in pre-tax benefits for the transit benefit program available to citizens who use public transportation.
“Developing a legislative plan to review and streamline our current tax code is laudable and to be encouraged. But to reduce the transit benefit program will disincentivize the millions of citizens and employees who use public transportation as a means of commuting to and from their place of business,” said Steve Shewmaker, president of Cubic Transportation Systems. “This works against our national interest to be energy independent, promote economic growth, reward wage earners and be pro-environment. Moreover, at a time when gasoline prices are at a record high and the U.S. trade balance so negatively impacted by oil imports, the last thing policy makers should be considering is legislation that discourages the use of public transit. The government should be encouraging our citizens to take advantage of public transportation when and where it is accessible.”
Within the Senate Finance Committee, senators are considering reducing the pre-tax benefit to individuals using public transportation from its current $245 per month to $125 per month, a near 50 percent cut.
Cubic believes it is in the Committee’s best interest to maintain the current transit benefit since promoting public transportation helps the consumer, the economy and the environment.
According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA):
• Americans living near public transit save 796 million hours in travel time annually
• Americans living near public transit save 303 million gallons of fuel annually in congestion reduction alone
• Mass transit’s overall effects saves the United States 4.2 billion gallons of gas each year
By financially penalizing those who utilize – and often rely on – public transportation, it discourages ridership, prompting more individuals to drive personal vehicles, consume fossil fuels and significantly contribute to growing congestion and pollution of urban areas.
Not only would the benefit cuts impact riders but they would negatively affect the transit market as well. Public transit’s growth, accessibility and increased efficiencies for the consumer and transportation authorities are at the heart of the transit business. Without significant pre-tax benefits, accessibility and efficiency decreases for many riders. Even worse, it harms wage earners who depend on steady ridership to earn a living. Public transportation is a $56 billion industry that employs nearly 400,000 people, but the dissuasion caused by the benefit reduction could mean less business and revenue for the transit market as ridership decreases.
Cubic is working closely within the transit industry, including APTA and the Association for Commuter Transportation, to help fight the proposed reduction to this important commuter/employee benefit. Efforts are underway to encourage employees and association memberships to voice their opposition to a reduction in the transit benefit program to their federal elected officials.