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Even with cuts, transit program good deal

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By ANDREA WALES
U.S. Army Human Resources Command PAO
The new year ushered in cuts to the government’s Mass Transit Benefit Program. The benefits for public transportation went from a maximum of $245 per federal employee per month to $130 (pre-tax dollars) per month as a result of the 2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act, otherwise known as the “fiscal cliff” deal.
However, costs to trans-port Fort Knox employees hover around the $130 mark, making out-of-pocket expenses nonexistent or, at the most, minimal.
Two transit agencies as well as the Fort Knox Mass Transit Benefit Program discussed its impact at a transportation site visit to the U.S. Army Human Re-sources Command Jan. 15.
“With the new year comes a renewed sense of responsibility for most people,” said Lorrie Cary-Hill, the HRC health-and-wellness coordinator and the coordinator of the quarterly site visits. “The first HRC van pool site visit was scheduled early in the year with that in mind. Most are looking for ways to cut costs on their gas bills, and the van pool is a great way to accommodate that goal.”
Once known as a government voucher program, the Fort Knox Mass Transit Benefit Program recently made the transition to debit cards that are loaded monthly.
In addition to saving money, employees take advantage of the program “to reduce damage to the ozone layer by reducing the number of vehicles on the road and to save wear and tear on privately owned vehicles,” Fort Knox MTBP’s William Powell said. “It’s really no hassle.”
To learn more about get-ting Uncle Sam to pay for your transportation costs to and from work, contact Powell at (502) 624-4372 or usarmy.knox.imcom-atlantic.mbx.mass-transit@mail.mil.
Ticket to Ride
“The majority of our vans aren’t over $130,” said Elizabeth Bowling, the marketing coordinator for the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency’s Ticket to Ride Program. “The way our billing works considers the number of passengers, the actual gas utilized, the number of miles traveled and insurance.”
Ticket to Ride serves commuters traveling to or from the KIPDA region, which includes Jefferson, Bullitt, Oldham, Spencer, Trimble, Shelby and Henry counties in Kentucky, and Clark and Floyd counties in Indiana, Bowling said. Currently, Ticket to Ride operates 38 vanpools to Fort Knox.
To learn more about joining a van pool to Fort Knox or starting a van pool from your area, visit the TTR website at http://www .tickettoride.org. TTR can also be reached at (866) 822-POOL.
Transit Authority of Central Kentucky
“The set amount is $150 (per month): $130 is on the (debit) card that the government issues them and $20 is out of pocket,” said Victoria Williams of the Transit Authority of Central Kentucky.
TACK’s van pool program offers transportation to and from work, for service members who live off post, government employees and contractors; however,  contractors don’t receive mass-transit benefits.
TACK’s four 28-passenger buses travel from Elizabethtown Park and Ride to Fort Knox each weekday morning and from Fort Knox back to Elizabethtown each weekday evening. TACK also has 13 van pool vans that originate in Hardin, LaRue, Breckinridge, Grayson, Taylor and Nelson counties.
Learn more about the Transit Authority of Central Kentucky by calling (855) 285-TACK.