May 15, 2012 | last updated May 16, 2012 11:11 am

McGovern Pushes Commuter Benefits

U.S. Rep. James McGovern wants workers who use public transportation to get as much of a boost from the federal government as drivers get.

McGovern, D-Worcester, said today he will push for additional tax benefits for users of transit systems in a transportation authorization bill now before Congress.

"Making parity permanent is about basic fairness in our tax policy. It's also about incentivizing good transportation practices," McGovern said in an address at the MBTA commuter rail station in Grafton. "We all know too many of our roads and bridges are crumbling. And I can't think of anyone who enjoys being stuck in traffic on their daily commute."

Currently, commuters who drive to work and park are eligible for up to $240 in pre-tax benefits per month from their employers, while in January commuters taking mass transit saw their benefits drop from $230 to $125 a month, according to a statement from McGovern's office. Commuters who drive and park were eligible for an increase in their monthly parking benefit at the start of 2012 because of an automatic cost-of-living adjustment.

Massachusetts employers utilize the transit benefit to attract and retain employees and reduce their environmental impacts on their communities, McGovern said.

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