Marc Garber, Host, WNYC News
Marc joined WNYC in 2006 after working most of the previous three decades in commercial radio, including at WQXR when it was still part of The New York Times Company.
Thousands of New York City transit riders already take part in a program of automatic pretax deductions from their paychecks to purchase MetroCards. Now, a New York City lawmaker is proposing a measure that would compel more employers to offer the option.
Councilmember Daniel Garodnick said he will introduce a bill on Tuesday that would require businesses with more than 20 employees to participate in the program.
He said hundreds of thousands more New Yorkers would likely enroll if they could. "But it has to be offered by your employer in order for you to qualify," he said, "so we are going to make this a requirement for the biggest firms and employers in New York City."
Garodnick, who represents Lower Manhattan, said the measure would not cost employers money and would provide them savings because they'll pay less taxes per employee.
"By taking some of the taxes off of their own payroll tax roll, they have the opportunity to save some money themselves," he said.
Garodnick said a monthly MetroCard user earning the New York City median income saves $443 per year when enrolled in the federal program.
Under the federal program, employees can deduct up to $130 dollars per month of their transit costs before it is taxed, the same way many already pay health insurance premiums.
Garodnick claims that by making more businesses participate, 600,000 additional New Yorkers would benefit.
Those who work in the city but live elsewhere would also be able to opt in.