According to the MetroWest Daily News, the House voted yesterday to bring back a tax deduction for commuters who pay for the Pike with FastLane, and for users of the MBTA (including commuter rail). The deduction only applies if you spend at least $150 commuting, and tops out at $750. This was done to bring back the deduction that had been available in past years and expired this year.
“This is a recognition that we are already paying for our commuting costs through Mass. Turnpike tolls and commuter rail passes and we shouldnât have to pay for them twice,” said state Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick, who filed the successful budget amendment.
My take? The MBTA part is a good idea, but I’m not very keen on the FastLane part; we ought to be encouraging public transit (though I suspect rising gasoline prices will do that all by itself), not giving people one more reason to clog the highways. Nobody tries this line with the gasoline tax (or rather, most people don’t take it very seriously), so why is FastLane different?