Mass-transit commuters now eligible for more pre-tax savings

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Monday, January 25, 2016

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mass transit commuters who take advantage of the Regional Transportation Authortiy's pre-tax benefit program are now able to save more money.

Tax-free benefits have been increased by nearly double per month.

"And it's one that can be extended to employees up to $255 a month. So it starts with the employers and then to inform the employees, we can help you. We can pay for that train ticket," Ill. Sen. Dick Durbin said.

Durbin urged more Chicago-area companies to sign up for the RTA transit benefit program. It allows employees to use pre-tax deductions from their paychecks to pay for the purchase of transit fares.

Nearly 52 percent of Metra riders currently use transit benefits.

Durbin says the benefit could yield $1,000 annually in federal and state tax savings for qualified mass transit commuters.

Durbin says the benefit was increased to match the benefit extended to people who parked cars. Making the pre-tax benefit the same for parking a car and taking transit, Durbin said, should encourage commuters to use mass transit more.

For the 2016 tax year and beyond, the tax-free benefit has been increased from $130 to $255 dollars per month, bringing long-sought permanent parity between employer-provided mass transit benefits and parking benefits.

There are more than 1,400 companies and 22,000 employees participating in the RTA Transit Benefit Fare Program, Durbin said.

For more information on how to sign up for the program, visit