Tax Breaks Encourage Commuters to Drive, Not Ride - NBC Bay Area

Tax Breaks Encourage Commuters to Drive, Not Ride

A stimulus-era incentive to take transit is ending, but parking is still incentivized.



    Tax Breaks Encourage Commuters to Drive, Not Ride
    Transit riders' tax incentive to take trains rather than drive will be cut in half.

    A federal stimulus-era program that allowed Bay Area transit commuters to deduct costly rail passes from their taxes is ending -- but financial incentives to park motor vehicles are being increased.

    Transit commuters used to be able to deduct up to $230 a month from their taxes on transit passes, according to the San Francisco Examiner. The program will expire after partisan bickering allowed it to end, a spokesman for Rep. Nancy Pelosi says, which means that commuters may now deduct a maximum of $125 a month.

    A deduction for parking costs, however, was increased to $240 a month, the newspaper said.

    That sends the wrong message, according to transit advocates.

    A monthly Caltrain pass costs $338 for someone traveling from San Jose to San Francisco, the newspaper observed. It costs $400 to get from Santa Rosa to San Francisco on Golden Gate Transit.

    Before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in March 2009, commuters could deduct only $120 a month from their taxes to cover transportation costs. President Obama's Tax Relief and Job Creation Act extended the program to the end of 2011.