CommuteCon 2020

What is Smarter Transportation? UBIT & Local Ordinances Update

Jason Pavluchuk
Executive Director
The Coalition for Smarter Transportation

Session Description

Jason Pavluchuk is the founder and principal of Pavluchuk & Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based political strategy firm that specializes in government affairs as they relate to transportation policies and laws. He is also the executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Transportation, a policy-oriented TDM think tank. Jason has participated in multiple past editions of CommuteCon, providing legal and governmental policy expertise. He joined CommuteCon 2020 to discuss unrelated business income tax (UBIT) laws and to update us on statewide policy efforts.

In 2018, tax code updates changed UBIT laws, requiring nonprofit organizations including universities to remit taxes on transportation-related fringe benefits provided to commuters. They have had a significant financial impact on affected organizations, and Jason and his colleagues lobbied the federal government to repeal the new taxation policy. He is pleased to report that as of the 2020 tax code updates, the unpopular UBIT taxes on transit and parking costs were eliminated. Tax-exempt organizations that paid these taxes qualify for refunds on the submitted funds, as the code update was retroactive to 2018.

The Coalition for Smarter Transportation is also heavily involved in governance at the state level, and the organization is currently working to prioritize:

  • Capital development
  • System expansions and maintenance
  • Technological innovation and utilization
  • Changes to land use policies
  • Expanding systems in sensible, user-centric ways
  • Raising the average occupancy of private vehicles

As Jason notes, policy has a major impact on commuter behaviors when “carrots” (incentives) and “sticks” (disincentives) are strategically used. Right now, the coalition is also engaged with the design and creation of many different regional innovation grant and incentive programs, funding initiatives for TMAs and employer-based programs, and tax incentives that support mode shift.

Jason concluded with an examination of the expected near-term and medium-term impact of the COVID-19 situation on government transportation policy. He noted that many programs in need of financial assistance to maintain operations, including vanpools and shuttles, qualify for funding under the federal government’s COVID financial relief bill.

For full details, be sure to view Jason’s full CommuteCon 2020 presentation.

About the speaker:

Jason Pavluchuk is the founder of Pavluchuk & Associates, a Washington DC based Transportation Policy & Government Affairs firm. Mr. Pavluchuk is a political tactician renowned for developing successful legislative strategies for both funding and policy issues and has published numerous studies on the tactics of interest groups in legislative politics.

Mr. Pavluchuk has spent over fifteen years working in a variety of transportation fields including transit, TDM, ITS, and mobility on demand.

In addition to direct advocacy services, Pavluchuk & Associates offers its clients assistance developing & understanding policy initiatives, conducting research, and general business development.

Jason is a proud graduate of The George Washington University.