New site promotes commuting choices

New site promotes commuting choices

A new interagency Web site at www.commuterchoice.gov encourages employers to offer workers alternatives to the traditional automobile commute.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department launched the Web site last week to support their Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative, a business-government partnership to reduce air pollution, EPA spokeswoman Cathy Milbourn said.

One major goal of the initiative is 'to make outstanding commuter benefits a standard workplace benefit,' akin to health insurance and retirement plans, said Stephan Sylvan, a manager in EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality. Employers now can give workers up to $100 per month in tax-free commuter benefits such as transit passes and vanpool assistance.

EPA designed the Web page and Transportation is hosting it, Sylvan said.

The initiative's home page takes visitors to separate sections for employers, commuters and supporters of commuting options. The last group includes public transit agencies, vanpool providers and municipal governments.

Transportation provided the algorithms of the Web site's business benefits calculator, which estimates financial and pollution savings of an employer's commuter program. EPA designed the user interface, Sylvan said.

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