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Monday
Jan042016

Commuter Benefit Parity Now a Permanent Reality

December 21st, 2015

After a quarter century of imbalanace in tax benefits for car commuters versus transit commuters, Permanent Commuter Benefit Parity has become a reality. The end of year tax deal has recently been signed into law now includes a provision that makes permanent transit benefit parity- meaning that the monthly cap on pre-tax transit, vanpool, and parking will increase EQUALLY to $255/month starting January 1st, 2016. The deal also retroactively sets that transit/vanpool cap at $250/month for 2015. 

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Without congressional action, the Transit Benefit cap was only $130, while the Parking Benefit cap was a whopping $255. 

This is a huge win for all commuters, specially those who have been paying for transit tickets well above the cap.

What will you do with your extra tax savings? 

More on retroactive benefits.....

The legislative text once again includes retroactive benefits. What does this mean? If you (as an employer) allowed employees to withhold above the cap and purchased fare media for them with taxable dollars, you will be able to retroactively apply the $250/month cap for 2015. Again, this only applies to those employees and employers who withheld above the cap. If employees used their own money to buy fare media the new cap does not apply (even if they have receipts or other proof of purchase).

Read more from ACT National

Monday
Jan042016

How Top Employers Are Getting People To Work

November 20, 2015

MassCommute recently helped to organize a roundtable presentation and discussion on innovative approaches to workforce transportation, in collaboration with the 495/MetroWest Partnership, Transportation for Massachusetts, and Transportation for America.  

Attracting and retaining forward-looking companies, and tomorrow's workforce, will require the region to be smart about transportation solutions, competitive with other regions, and committed to the transportation needs of all workers.

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This program was presented in Foxborough with the support of LyftPatriot Place, the Neponset Vallet TMA and TransAction Associates.

Thank you to Senator James Timilty, Representative Chris Walsh and staff from Senator Elizabeth Warren for attending.

Presenters included:

  • Paul Matthews, Executive Director, 495/MetroWest Partnerhip
  • Dan Krantz, the Kraft Group
  • James Corless, Director, Transportation for America
  • Brendon Harrington, Transportation Operations Manager, Google
  • Tom Ragno, King Street Properties
  • Melissa Tintocolis, Economic Development Director, Town of Lexington
  • Scott Zadakis, Director, CrossTown Connect Transportation Management Association
  • Keith Bergman, Littleton Town Administrator
  • Dean LaMothe, Director of Finance for E Ink
  • Astrid Glynn, MassDOT Rail and Transit Administrator
  • Forrest Hanson, Lyft Commercial Enterprise Solutions
  • Kristina Egan, Director, Transportation for Massachusetts

Presentations are available for:

Video of presentations by:

Read the Conference Program

Transportation for America Jobs Access fact sheet

Check the MassCommute Facebook Page for pictures.

Thanks to all who attended and supported this event!

Thursday
Oct292015

MassCommute & MAPC Host #CommutingMatters Forum 10/8/15

On Thursday, October 8, MassCommute and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) co-hosted a breakfast forum at Atlantic Wharf in Boston for municipalities and employers to discuss ways they can work together to reduce congestion and increase our ability to attract and retain a competitive workforce through better transportation options.

The featured speaker was Mayor Kimberley Driscoll of Salem. Mayor Driscoll discussed the importance of implementing local policies for managing traffic, and outlined examples of the ways that Salem has enhanced its infrastructure and improved mobility for residents and tourists alike.

Julia Prange Wallerce, Executive Director, MassCommute and Alison Felix, Senior Transportation Planner, MAPC, presented the findings from two recent research papers on transportation management associations and transportation demand management.

Moderated by Patrick Sullivan, Managing Director, Mass Commute, a panel discussion then convened. The panelists, listed below, were business and municipal stakeholders who have successfully created partnerships to implement such programs:

  • Stephanie Groll, Parking and TDM Planning Officer, City of Cambridge
  • Susan McGowan, Associate Director, Benefits, Biogen
  • Melisa Tintocalis, Economic Development Director, Town of Lexington
  • Tom Ragno, Principal, King Street Properties

The forum also featured Katherine Fichter, Massachusetts Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination at MassDOT who spoke about the state’s role in supporting local transportation options. The forum then concluded with closing remarks from our own Marc Draisen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see all of the slides used in the forum, click here

Links to MAPC’s and MassCommute’s research papers are below:

"Transportation Demand Management - Case Studies and Regulations," by MAPC

"Making the Shift: How TMAs in Massachusetts Leverage Private-Sector Resources to Achieve State Goals & Public Benefits," 

Check out the video clips on YouTube:

Keynote- Mayor Driscoll pt1 (5:02): view

Keynote- Mayor Driscoll pt2 (1:00 ): view

Keynote- Mayor Driscoll pt3 (1:35): view 

Keynote- Mayor Driscoll pt4 (2:00): view 

Keynote- Mayor Driscoll pt5 (1:18): view

Panel p1- Melisa Tintocolis and Tom Ragno (7:37): view

Panel pt2: Tom Ragno (0:30): view

Panel pt3- Stephanie Groll (4:05): view

Panel pt4 - Susan McGowan (5:44)): view   

Marc Draisen, Closer (4:36): view

See more photos on Facebook 

Tuesday
Sep222015

Be Seen Commuting Green! The 2015 #MACleanAir Challenge is 9/20-27

September 18th, 2015

*Cross posted & adapted from the MassDOT Blog

Take the Challenge!

By participating in the Massachusetts Clean Air Challenge, commuters and travelers across Massachusetts will improve air-quality by choosing more sustainable transportation options during the week-long promotion.

This year, Massachusetts challenges you to explore your commuting options from September 20th-27th by choosing greener modes of transportation including carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling, walking, and riding transit. Participants are part of a collective effort to reduce the number of cars on the road, which reduces harmful emissions and improves our air quality.

Participating in the Clean Air Challenge is free, and it’s easy! Rethink your commute to work or other trips throughout the week and try traveling by foot, bicycle, carpool, vanpool, or transit for as many trips as you can between September 20th-27th. Last year, challenge participants reported over 26,000 green trips in one week – let’s take even more this year!

 

Track your trips!

Register in NuRide, the Commonwealth’s ridematching and commuter rewards program. Take as many green trips as you can between September 20th-27th and record them using the NuRide trip calendar. NuRide is Massachusetts’ ridematching and rewards program. It’s free and easy to use and is available year round.

Win prizes for contributing to cleaner air!

Daily Prizes– Every day during the Challenge, a $100 Amazon gift card will be awarded to a randomly selected NuRide participant.

MassCommute TMAs will also  be hosting individual raffles and promotions for their members (see if your employer is a member of a TMA here)

Let’s get social!

Use #MACleanAir to show how you’re commuting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We’ll share our favorite pictures and tweets to help motivate other Bay Staters try a new way of traveling to work.

Repeat! Use NuRide all year long to track your green trips, and continue to earn rewards.

MassCommute TMA employer members as well as MassRIDES employer partners, colleges, universities, and Massachusetts cities and towns are also encouraged to take part. Contact MassCommute for help planning your promotions and visit www.macleanairchallenge.com for other resources.

The #MACleanAir Challenge is co-sponsored by MassDOT, MassRIDES, and MassCommute.

Tuesday
Jun302015

MBTA Fare Caps on the Chopping Block? 

As the House Ways and Means Committee continues to review Governor Baker's proposed legislation to reform and improve the MBTA (House Bill 3613, An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority), MassCommute has submitted the following letter in support of a final bill that maintains the fare caps currently in place and the millions in funding for the struggling yet vital transit agency through the 2013 Transportation Finance Act:

(download pdf)

June 30th, 2015

Representative Brian Dempsey

Chair, House Committee on Ways and Means 

Massachusetts State House

Boston, MA 02133

 

Dear Chairman Dempsey and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of the twelve Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) comprising MassCommute, I am pleased to provide our feedback regarding the latest draft of House Bill 3613, An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

As a coalition of public-private partnerships working with over 300 employers in 40 municipalities across eastern Massachusetts, we recognize the tremendous value that our public transit system provides in fueling and securing our region’s economy and we commend the Governor for focusing his attention to the issues that have plagued the MBTA. We are also grateful to the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Transportation for their continued hard work on this legislation.

MassCommute has supported and will continue to support reforms in this legislation that improve the safety, effectiveness and efficiency of our transportation system while delivering maximum value to the taxpayer, commuters, and the business community.  As the House Ways and Means Committee continues to review this bill, we would like to express our support for two key elements:

  1. Fares: We appreciate that this legislation maintains current fare policy at the MBTA. Maintaining a fare cap will ensure that the T raises fares regularly, modestly, and predictably without burdening the hundreds of thousands of households in Greater Boston that do not own or have access to a car.
  2. Transportation Finance: We strongly support Section 7, which allows for yearly carry-over of surplus funds, and Section 25 of this bill, both of which will ensure sustainable funding for the MBTA.  The $581 million in funding generated in the Transportation Finance Act of 2013 is essential to the system and must be preserved. We strong recommend that the Commonwealth continue providing the state assistance at these levels without constraints. Section 25 asks the Baker administration to estimate the current financial gap facing the statewide transportation system and to recommend specific and quantified recommendations to address deficiencies in the system’s state of good repair and capacity. Please consider maintaining these pieces in the final legislation.

To continue to attract and retain world-class businesses and the workers that they need to thrive and survive, we need to invest in a world-class transportation network. This legislation is a step in the right direction and we appreciate your consideration of our comments.

Respectfully,

Julia Prange Wallerce, Executive Director