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City Council Proposes Pre-Tax Transportation Benefit to Address Rising Traffic

Councilors Lydia Edwards (District 1) and Michelle Wu (At-Large) requested a hearing regarding the adoption of transportation benefit ordinances in an attempt to promote public transportation usage in the City of Boston.

“Transportation benefit ordinances are not new,” said Councilor Edwards. “There are many cities that already have them such as Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, D.C., New York, and the entire state of New Jersey.”

The ordinances would require businesses to offer their employees certain fringe benefits such as a pre-tax payroll deduction for public transit passes. Councilors Edwards and Wu hope that placing such measures would encourage more commuters to use public transportation, therefore reducing traffic congestion.

Councilor Edwards addressed critics of the mandate, saying “It does not cost the employers anything unless they have a huge amount of employees and they have an administrative cost.”

The ordinances could save employees money, especially those who have been pushed out of the City of Boston by rising rent costs or limited housing supply, by reducing the costs accrued from longer commute times.

“This is not going to fix our transportation infrastructure,” Councilor Edwards pointed out. However, she did express hope that the mandate could positively impact the rising traffic congestion by offering workers a tax break benefit.

Although Councilor Wu supports the mandate, she maintained that she is still working toward a future where it will not be necessary with a fare-free MBTA.

9 Replies to “City Council Proposes Pre-Tax Transportation Benefit to Address Rising Traffic

  1. This is starting to resemble a game show. Free college tuition.Free healthcare , free day care , all student debt eliminated. Now Councilor Wu is “working” toward a free fare MBTA. One question who is going to pay for all these freebies? I think I know the answer.

    1. I read this as a pre-tax benefit where the employer offers a discount and the employee pays the rest. It is not free. I worked at a place where they paid 25% and I paid 75% of the cost of a monthly T pass with the $ deducted from my paycheck before taxes. I got the pass at work without having to go to the T for it every month. That was 20 years ago.

  2. It’s true that Councilor Edwards supports the employer offers a discount of the T fares for their employees . Councilor Wu supports a “Fare free MBTA”

    1. I can only guess that free fare T pass failed. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be talking pre-tax payment. It’s not a bad idea, but they don’t sound like they have agreement with the IRS. Does he IRS allow this benefit? The other problem is the words “would require”. It’s another hammer and cycle approach to governance. They can’t come up with laws that companies would want to use, so they apply the law by force. Big companies get a bulk rate, small companies just look to relocate.

  3. Wow, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, NY, NJ all do it.! Have you been to those cities lately? They are hardly great role models of civic policy. Boston can do much better than model itself after these disasters of the Left. Let’s do what we have always done-lead not follow! Better roads, more ways to go around the city for those just traveling through, complete the commuter rail line from North Station to South Station, increase the use of low cost ferry service in the harbor, call on the great minds at MIT, Harvard, and the other academics that live here to help us find solutions. Stop the phony calls for Free this and Free that! Solutions will cost money and will take time to accomplish. If Europe and Asia could reinvent their cities after WW2 so can we BUT we need to face facts. There is NO FREE Lunch.

  4. Councilor Edwards wants a tax break for employees who ride the MBTA via a way to purchase passes using pretax dollars. Councillor Wu supports this proposal but wants a fare-free MBTA in the future. They are both addressing congestion in the city, not the entire state. Stop the phony right-wing call for expensive consulting services and better roads for suburbanites to avoid driving through Boston. You don’t want cheaper fares in downtown and the other neighborhoods but you are calling for an expensive investment in low-cost ferry service for Charlestown and Eastie Residents to cross the harbor. A bit hypocritical of you.

    1. The whim is for free fare T rides. The realality is that fares have risen steadily and the Councilors have done know more that whine and make noise, public statements. But they have done little to stop fare increases. The real question is why have the same people allowed this and then make a bunch a phoney proposals that they have no intention passing. The vacillate from free fares to increasing fares and then forcing businesses pay their out of control fares. This way if the general public doesn’t see the fare increases, they can keep get themselves reelected. The feel the key word their is themselves.

  5. The problem ( or one of the problems )with the MBTA is that too many T riders already ride for free by evading the fares. Look up how much $ the T has lost over the years by fare evaders.

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