An article in today's New York Times discusses the growing popularity of commuter benefits programs, whereby tax incentives created by Congress in the 1990's allow companies to create tax favored incentives to encourage the use of mass transit and car pooling. Many organizations are including these programs as part of an overall "green" initiative.
According to the Times:
It allows companies to cover up to $110 a month of a worker's commuting costs via bus, subway, train or ferry or lets workers take up to $110 a month in pre-tax money for that purpose. A similar amount can be contributed to each rider in van pools for six or more passengers.
If employers fund the program, they get a tax deduction for the expense; when the money is set aside from employees' paychecks, employers save money because the amount is not subject to payroll taxes. In many cases, state and local taxes don't apply either.
Employers looking for more information about commuter benefits programs (also referred to as transit incentive programs or TRIPs) can check out the Web site maintained by the Federal Transit Administration of the Department of Transportation, under the heading Commuter Choice Program.