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!!!MTBP NEWS FLASH!!! Change in benefit amount...No longer $245....Now $130...

UPDATE as of 1-27-14

The Victor Valley Transit Authority has instituted a Bus Schedule Adjustment for NTC Commuter 104A. The effective date is Monday 27 January 2014. Please click on the attachment below for further details. 

NTC Cummuter Schedule Document 27JAN14

UPDATE as of 1-8-14

To all Commuters:

The Park and Ride Facility located at the Transportation Center at Highway 18 and Fourth Street, in Victorville, is available to individuals who wish to participate in ride share programs. Several parking stalls on the west side of the parking lot are dedicated to Beck Oil, whose facility adjoins the Park and Ride lot. Recently, several complaints have been received that Park and Ride patrons are using these dedicated spots.

We are notifying all patrons of the Park and Ride lot to honor these dedicated spaces and refrain from parking in stalls designated for Beck Oil. As a reminder, vehicles illegally parked in these stalls are subject to towing at the automobile owners expense.

Mass Trans Benefit Update for Commuter Bus and Vanpools: Section 203 of The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-240) set the maximum Mass Transportation Benefit statutory limit for tax year 2013 at $245 per month. This provision will expire on 1 January 2014. The Internal Revenue Service has issued Revenue Procedure 2013-35, which sets the maximum amount for tax year 2014 at $130 per month. Unless Congress acts to extend or adjust the $245 statutory limit, as of 1 January 2014 the maximum Mass Transportation Benefit amount will be $130 per month.

The Army is adjusting the maximum benefit to the new limit for use beginning 1 January. Army participants who use electronic fare media (e.g. debit cards) will have their maximum amount adjusted to $130 with the 10 December funding allotment.

For those participants who are still receiving paper fare media on a quarterly basis, the most recent distribution (for November-December-January) included funding at the maximum level 0f $245 for November and December, and a maximum level of $125 for January. This level was set prior to the release of the IRS Revenue Procedure 2013-35. Reimbursement for the difference between the $125 amount for January and the $130 maximum benefit will NOT be provided.

Any new enrollments received for the second and third months of the current distribution quarter (December-January) will receive benefits up to the maximum amount of $245 for December, and $130 for January. The new amount will be issued beginning with the next quarterly distribution.

Should Congress act to extend or revise the benefit amount, steps will be taken to adjust the maximum benefit accordingly.

How to get your NTC Commuter Bus Tickets starting 1 January 2014. Three ways to get tickets:

1. IN PERSON - Barstow City Hall, M-TH 7:30AM - 5:30PM, Fri 7:30AM - 4:30PM. Credit/Debit Card, Cash or Money Order
2. IN PERSON - VVTA Offices, M-F 8:00AM - 5:00PM, 17150 Smoketree St., Hesperia. Credit/Debit Card, Cash or Money Order
3. BY PHONE - 760-948-4021 ext. 123. Credit/Debit only (You will be able to pick up your tickets within 2 business days from Bldg 988, Rm 110B)

* NTC Vending Machines will be temporarily taken out of service until the rate is finalized.

• New VVTA Monthly Commuter Bus Fares starting 1 January 2014:

◦ $175.00 General Rider

◦ $87.50 60+ Years old or Disabled with valid ID

◦ $12.00 Cash Fare one way

_________________________________________________________________________________________

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS FOR BUS RIDERS

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS FOR PRIVATE VANPOOL RIDERS

IMPORTANT LINKS AND DOCUMENTS: 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

1.       What is the Mass Transportation Benefits Program (MTBP)? 

a.        The Mass Transportation Benefit Program provides partial reimbursement for mass transit commuting costs “in order to reduce Federal employees’ contribution to traffic congestion and air pollution and to expand their commuting alternatives” (Executive Order 13150, April 2000).

b.      MTBP is available for all Army employees – military, civilian, and NAF.

c.       The benefit is a non-taxable personnel benefit, funded from the same appropriation or non-appropriated fund that funds the participant's salary.

d.      The benefit is not to be used for any other purpose, and may not be given, sold, or otherwise transferred to any other individual.

e.       Geographically, the MTBP applies only to the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

f.       MTBP execution and individual participation is closely monitored by Army, DoD, and Federal oversight agencies (GAO, OMB) for compliance with program requirements.

2.       How does the Program Work?

a.        Eligible MTBP participants receive a subsidy for their commuting expenses while using Qualified Means of Transportation.

b.       The subsidy is issued which is used to “pay” the local transit provider.  

c.        As of 1 January 2014 the maximum allowable benefit is $130 per month.

(1)    If your commuting costs exceed $130 per month, you are responsible for the amount above $130.

(2)   The MTPB is centrally funded by HQDA; there is no cost to the local installation.

3.       Who is eligible to participate?

a.       All Army Active Component (AC) military service members.

b.      Army Reserve Component (RC) military service members (Army Reserve and Army National Guard) who are currently on active duty.

            c.   DoD/DA Federal civilian employees, including part-time federal employees and interns.

            d.  DA Non-Appropriated Fund (NAF) personnel employed by a duly constituted

Army Non-Appropriated Funded Instrumentality (NAFI) under the control of the Secretary of the Army and organized under the provision of AR 215-1 (Military Morale, Welfare, And Recreation Programs And Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities), (e.g., NAFI activities managed by the U.S. Army Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation Command).

4.       Who is NOT eligible?

a.        Army RC service members who are drilling or training in an Inactive Duty for Training (IADT) status.

            b.      Contractors.

c.       Service members and civilian employees on TDY, or who have been deployed. 

d.      NAF personnel whose salary is not funded by a duly constituted Army NAFI under the provisions of AR 215-1 

e.       Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) students unless they are enlisted in a military branch and serving on active duty

f.       Army military retirees and Army civilian employee retirees

g.      Dependents.

5.       What are qualified means of transportation?

a.       Commuter Bus, Commuter Train, Subway / Light Rail

b.       Van Pools (Van pools must adhere to the guidelines stated in Title 26, United States Code, Section 132(f) (attached).

c.       Ferry.

6.       What are NOT qualified means of transportation?

a.       Personally Owned Vehicles (POV), carpools, motorcycles, airplanes, bicyclists, and/or walkers, solely utilizing any of these methods of transportation

b.      Ferries used as a means of shuttling POVs from one point to another where the completion of the journey to the duty station is completed in the POV. 

7.       How do I apply?

a.       Submit a completed and signed “Mass Transportation Benefit Program Application” to your installation’s MTBP Program POC for processing

b.      Contact  Rosemary Richter at 760-380-4614 or rosemary.richter@us.army.mil or Kristi Oakley at 760-380-3337 or Kristi.oakley@us.army.mil

c.       The application form and instructions for completion  may be found at the Army’s MTBP website:

http://asafm.army.mil/offices/ASA/MassTrans.aspx?OfficeCode=1000

d.      The approval process takes approximately 30 workdays, from application submission to receipt of fare media.  The monthly cut-off for application submission is the 25th of the month (unless it is a weekend and then it is the workday  prior) to be eligible for participation.

8.       Commuter Options:

a. VPSI Vanpools:  Contact Damien Andress at 951-878-8774 or 1-800-VANRIDE or  visit www.vride.com .

            b.  Enterprise Vanpools:  Contact Corrine Hill at 1-800-826-4967 or (310) 436-2364 or visit www.vanpool.com.

Note:  DoD, the US Army, and NTC and Fort Irwin do not imply endorsement or endorse the specific companies referenced; the information is being provided merely as an indication of commercial companies available within the local area, other companies may also be available.

c.  Other Vanpools:  The vehicle may be owned and operated by either public

transit or commercial authorities, or by a private vendor in the business of transporting persons for compensation or hire.  The vehicle must have a seating capacity of at least six (6) adults, not including the driver. There are no guidelines that specify the maximum capacity of the vehicle. The minimum number of adult seats occupied for commuting purposes must be at least half (3) of the adult seating capacity (6) of such vehicle in addition to the driver, or 4 total (3 adult passengers + 1 driver).  At least 80 percent of the expected mileage use of the vehicle must be for the purpose of transporting personnel in their local commute from residence to their place of employment/duty station.

d.   NTC Commuter Bus:  Victor Valley Transit Authority (VVTA) operates bus service from Victorville, Silver Lakes and Barstow to and from Fort Irwin called the “NTC Commuter”.  The schedule and other information can be found at their website:  http://www.vvta.org/ntccommuter.html#guidelines or by calling 760-948-3262.

Other Incentives:  

            a. Option Rideshare offers three incentives for vanpools.  You may only receive one of the three incentives:

       (1) The County of San Bernardino offers an incentive for vanpools that provides a total of $1800 spread over nine months for new vanpools ($300 for 1st 3 months, $200 for 2nd 3 months, and $100 for 3rd 3 months).  This money will be taken directly off of your VPSI or Enterprise lease amount and should be mentioned to the vanpool POC at the time of lease. 

       (2) After riding in a rideshare (carpool, bus, vanpool, etc.), for 3 months, you are eligible to receive $2.00 per day for a total of $180.00 in the form of grocery vouchers.  Forms must be turned in to the MTBP POC in Building 988.  When vouchers arrive, you will be contacted for pick-up.

       (3) For more information on Inland Empire Incentives, visit the website below: http://www.ie511.org/commuter-incentives.aspx

b. As a VPSI or Enterprise vanpool you are eligible to participate in a subsidy offered by Victor Valley Transit Authority.  If you are interested an online Application must be completed.

c. Once approved for operation by VVTA, and while receiving a VVTA subsidy, vanpools must also maintain a 70% occupancy rate to remain qualified for the Program (based on an average per calendar month).

d. For those vanpools qualified and whose applications are approved, VVTA’s subsidy per vanpool is up to $400 a month and is based on 50% of total operating costs for the vanpool each month. For information and application, visit the following website: http://www.vvta.org/vanpool/

 

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