23 June 2008

To bus or not to bus?

I've been rolling around the idea in my head of riding the CAT bus to work as a substitute for driving my 2000 Honda Civic about 40 miles round-trip each day. The expenditures on gas aren't affecting me too much (yet), but I'd like to save the money that I'm spending on gas and reduce some of my carbon emissions. Now I've come across this morsel of information that has really got me weighing the costs and benefits of not using my car for commuting to work.
The Internal Revenue Service allows businesses to invest funds, tax free, in
alternative transportation for employees. Currently, employers can provide up to
$115 a month in qualified transportation benefits. These can include van pools,
bus tickets and other mass-transit options.

And even if my employer isn't hip to paying for my transportation costs to get to and from work everyday, I can always try this:

If the employer can't afford to do that, another option that's available is
to implement a flex-spending plan for employee transportation.
Under this provision, employees can have up to $115 a month deducted, pretax, for
transportation expenses and another $200 a month can be deducted pretax for
parking expenses.

"That has no cost to the employer, but because it is pretax, that would
help employees," Thalacker said. "You don't see this used often. I've only had
one employer call me about that provision."

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