MARC riders warned of cut in tax benefits
MARC riders and users of other transit services face a potentially significant increase in their commuting costs if a federal tax benefit program decreases --- as it now appears it will -- as of Jan. 1, an advocate for the commuter railroad's customers is warning.
Rafi Guroian, chairman of the MARC Tiders Advisory Council, said some commuters could see their costs rise by as much as $1,300 a year if Congress allows the benefits of a program known as SmartBenefits to be cut in half as it considers a bill to expend the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush. What is now a subsidy of $230 a month could be cut to $120 a month, Guroian said.
Guroian said that about half of MARC tickets might be purchased with the help of SmartBenefits. He said transit advocates in the Washington and New York areas are joining with the MARC council to try to rally congressional support for the benefit.
We hope to follow up on this issue in greater detail next week. MARC riders and others who use the SmartBenefits program are encouraged to contact email@example.com this weekend to describe how they would be affected by expiration of the program.