The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted last week to raise the mass transit tax benefit that was cut in half at the beginning of 2014 back to $250—but only for this year, leaving the current reduced rate going forward.
Commuters’ wallets took a major hit when the tax benefit expired on Jan. 1, 2014, dropping the maximum monthly allowance for mass transit down to $130. Under the new provision, approved by a 378-46 vote, the 2014 rate will retroactively be restored to $250, which is slightly higher than in 2013. The benefit extension as it stands, however, will not apply beyond this year, meaning the debate will be renewed in 2015.
While the mass transit benefit plummeted, 2014 saw the parking benefit actually increased $5 to $250.
The retroactive restore generated debate even among supporters, as both parties raised concerns about the benefit’s impact on American businesses and families. Several attempts were made to extend the mass-transit benefit long term but were blocked by President Obama and Senate Republicans on separate occasions.