Metro News Release

For immediate release: December 17, 2010

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Metro applauds federal extension of transit benefit
Maximum transit benefit will remain at $230

SmartBenefits® customers will continue to receive the same transit commuter tax benefit in 2011 thanks to an extension that keeps the maximum transit benefit allowed by federal law at $230. Without the extension, the maximum benefit would have reverted to $120 per month. The extension was included in tax legislation that was signed into law by President Obama today, Dec. 17.

“We are extremely grateful to the members of this region’s Congressional delegation and other leaders in Congress for taking action to allow SmartBenefits® users to continue to receive the same transit benefits,” said Metro Interim General Manager Richard Sarles. “This move benefits transit riders directly and ultimately reduces traffic congestion, as people are incentivized to use public transportation.”

In addition to the one-year extension of the transit commuter tax benefit, the IRS has delayed the requirement to separate parking and transit benefits until Jan. 1, 2012. However, Metro is taking steps to separate parking and transit benefit accounts to comply with the federal mandate prior to the deadline. The change will be phased in over several months in 2011. Metro is notifying SmartBenefits® customers and employers about this extension.

In the National Capital Region, 285,000 employees currently receive transit benefits. At least 90,000 of these Metro commuters receive more than $120 per month.

News release issued at 4:36 pm, December 17, 2010.

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