Van pooling benefits installations, environment
October 25, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The Mass Transportation Benefit Program provides reimbursement for mass transit commuting costs to reduce federal employees' contributions to traffic congestion and air pollution, and to expand their commuting alternatives.
The MTBP is available to all Army employees and is a nontaxable personnel benefit, funded by the same appropriation or non-appropriated fund that pays the participant's salary.
Commuter bus and train, subway/light rail, ferries and van pools are the only authorized modes of travel that are included in the MTBP. Eligible participants receive a subsidy for their commuting expenses while using a qualified means of transportation.
The subsidy is provided via one of two methods: fare media such as tokens or fare cards are issuedAca,!E+and used to pay the local transit providers, or participants may purchase fare media with their own funds and then request reimbursement.
The maximum benefit is currently $230 per month for commuters taking advantage of a van pool program. Participants are responsible for commuting costs that exceed this amount.
Aca,!AcAll Army active duty service members.
Aca,!AcArmy Reserve component military service members currently on active duty.
Aca,!AcDepartment of the Army federal civilian employees.
Aca,!AcDA non-appropriated fund personnel employed by a duly constituted Army NAF instrumentality, under control of the Secretary of the Army and organized under the provision of Army Regulation 215-1 (Military Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs and Non-Appropriated Fund instrumentalities).
Aca,!AcArmy Reserve component service members who are drilling or training in an inactive duty for training status.
Aca,!AcService members and civilian employees on TDY, or who are deployed.
Aca,!AcNAF personnel whose salary is not funded by a duly constituted Army NAFI under the provisions of AR 215-1.
Aca,!AcROTC students, unless they are enlisted in a military branch and serving on active duty.
Aca,!AcRetirees, both military and civilian.
<b>How to Apply</b>
Submit a completed and signed "Mass Transportation Benefit Program Application" to your installation's MTBP Program for processing. U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii's point of contact can be reached at 808-656-2391.
Along with the application, submit a completed and signed "Commuter Expenses Calculation Worksheet" showing your estimated monthly commuting costs.
The application form, calculation worksheet and instructions for completion may be found at the Army's MTBP website at <a href="http://www.go.usa.gov/aai">www.go.usa.gov/aai</a>.
The approval process takes approximately 30 workdays, from application submission to receipt of fare media.
It isn't always possible to car pool or use public transportation, but everyone can be more environmentally friendly in transit. Try any of these methods to do your part:
Aca,!AcDrive less, especially during peak traffic periods or hot days. If possible, telecommute.
Aca,!AcAvoid revving or idling car engines longer than 30 seconds. Instead, accelerate gradually, maintain speed limits and use cruise control on the highway.
Aca,!AcConsult your owner's manual on recommendations for maximum economic efficiency. Repair all vehicle leaks promptly.
Aca,!AcFind out if materials are recyclable when you change your tires or car fluids.
Aca,!AcFill gas tanks during the cooler evening or early morning hours to cut down on evaporation.
Aca,!AcDon't ignore the "check engine" or "service engine soon" light if it comes on.
Aca,!AcMinimize use of air conditioning in your car, if possible, and use EPA-certified facilities for AC repair.
Aca,!AcShop by phone, mail or Internet.
Aca,!AcAvoid waiting in long drive-through lines at fast-food restaurants or banks.
Aca,!AcIf you're shopping for a new or used car, look for the most efficient, lowest-polluting model.
<i>(Editor's Note: Tips are courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency. For more information on ways you can "go green," visit <a href="http://www.epa.gov/air/actions">www.epa.gov/air/actions</a>. This article appeared in the Hawaii Army Weekly's Oct. 22 special insert on sustainability. Click <a href="http://www.hawaiiarmyweekly.com/special-inserts/">here</a> to view the entire 8-page feature.)</i>