TRY Column |

TRY Column

Cathy Tuttle

Many individuals are making a difference in their communities by choosing alternative transportation to preserve their community’s quality of life. For these individuals, a commuter benefits plan makes perfect sense. Employees save on transit and vanpool costs while employers enjoy lower overall payroll taxes.In 1998, Congress approved legislation that allowed employees of corporations to pay for parking and transit on a pre-tax basis. These plans provide significant tax breaks for employees and employers. Specifically, employees do not pay personal income tax, Social Security or Medicare tax on wages (or employer contributions) used to purchase transit through a qualified program. The typical employee can save about $500 per year in reduced taxes.Employers also do not owe taxes on wages used to purchase transit or parking under a plan. Typically savings on reduced payroll taxes for employers are $90 per participant annually. “Programs such as this work for smaller companies, because smaller companies are always looking for ways of providing high-value benefits at an affordable cost,” said Bob Coscarello, Wageworks spokesman. “Because of the tax savings associated with these plans, they are essentially cost free to the company. And they allow smaller companies the ability to compete with larger employees who are more likely to have an array of employee benefits.” How does it work?Participants purchase transit passes online or through a toll-free number, and the actual transit pass is delivered to their home each month. Payments are handled through payroll deductions.

Daily fare on the Grand Hogback is $4 one-way and $8 round-trip between Glenwood Springs and Rifle. The Grand Hogback punch pass is $11.50 for $20 worth of rides and $23 for $40 worth of rides. Ride Glenwood’s daily fare is $1 one-way and $2 all day. A punch pass is $20 for 20 days. The monthly picture pass for Ride Glenwood is $18 for unlimited rides for Glenwood Spring chamber members. A 20-day punch pass on Ride Glenwood will be $18 for chamber members.A new combo monthly picture pass for the Grand Hogback/Ride Glenwood is available for $75, or $70 for chamber member employees. This pass is valued at $176 per month. A monthly youth pass, for kids ages 6-8, is $45.Monthly picture passes can be purchased at Glenwood Springs City Hall. Punch passes are available at Safeway, City Market, City Hall and the chamber.The TRY/TDM stakeholder committee has invited Bob Coscarello from WageWorks and Laura Mattson with RFTA to discuss commuter benefit plans. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 9, City Hall, 3rd-floor training room. For information, call Cathy Tuttle at 384-6427 or e-mail Tuttle is with the consulting firm of Tuttle Marketing and Communications and is the TRY/TDM manager/consultant for the city of Glenwood Springs. This column appears on Monday to explain how each person in our community can make a difference in our quality of life. Transportation Responsibility & You – one day at a time, one trip at a time!

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