Guest Editorial: Commuter Benefits Have Value

(Image of West Chester's Transportation Center via Chester County Planning Commission)
P. Timothy Phelps, Executive Director of TMACC.

By Tim Phelps

In planning and funding transportation infrastructure the Transportation Management Association of Chester County (TMACC) believes we should be mode agnostic and focus on the holistic approach of the multimodal movement of people; pedestrian, cyclists, cars, and public transportation.

As we build federal and state policy, whether its Tax or Transportation Investment, we need to be visionary, flexible, and incentive based. An example of one of these successful programs that is currently offered by many businesses is commuter benefits.

As Congress, and specifically the Ways and Means Committee, begins the process reforming the tax code we urge Members to preserve the commuter benefits offered in section 132(f) of the tax code.

TMACC commends Congress for tackling the tremendous task of tax reform. Commuter benefits are a staple in many employee benefits packages nationwide; a benefit that encourages employees to use alternative commuting options.

Commuter benefits are being offered in all states and have a value to businesses of all shapes and sizes. The provision enables employers to subsidize commuting expenses or for employees to contribute on a tax advantaged basis through a payroll deduction.

Thus, employers can reduce payroll taxes, providing sound fiscal savings and providing many employers with additional resources to expand and create new jobs. The benefit accomplishes this in a simple manner without any administrative burden on taxpayers.

Commuter benefits help working Americans reduce what is often their second largest household expense – transportation.

Elimination of the commuter benefit would negatively impact millions of Americans who may see a small reduction in their tax bracket, but a large increase in their commuting costs.

For example, a working family that takes advantage of the full allowable monthly pre-tax deduction for transit in 2017 could pay as much as $1,200 more in taxes.

Eliminating commuter benefits would also then result in an increase in payroll taxes for small and large businesses.

  • Higher Taxes – If tax advantaged parking and/or transit benefits are eliminated, employer provided parking now must be valued, accounted for and taxed.
  • Parking Growth-NOT Job Growth– Employers may spend money, space and resources to expand parking areas or rent/lease additional parking.
  • Less Productive Workforce – More drive time + less money = Unhappy and less productive workforce.

Commuter benefits have achieved over 30 years of bi-partisan support. We urge Congress to continue the preservation of these vital transportation benefits as they work towards tax reform legislation. Commuter benefits work.

Enjoy Commuter Benefits? Take five minutes to defend them at .

TMACC is a membership based non-profit transportation advocacy organization working with the public and private sectors of Chester County to identify transportation issues and recommend solutions that reduce congestion and improve air quality.

To learn more about TMACC visit

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