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Commuters now eligible for $245 per month in pretax transit benefits

Commuters who ride public transit or use vanpools to get to work may be eligible for up to $245 per month in a pretax transit benefit, under the "fiscal cliff" legislation approved by Congress.

The San Diego Association of Governments announced Wednesday that workers whose employers choose to offer the transit benefit can now set aside up to $245 per month through pretax payroll deductions to cover public transit or vanpooling costs.

If they work for a company that subsidizes their commute costs, they can receive up to $245 from their employer as a nontaxable fringe benefit. This is an increase of $120 per month.

“This is a great program that employers can use to put a little extra cash in their employees’ wallets,” said Ray Traynor, principal planner and head of SANDAG’s iCommute program. “And it’s not just employees who save money; employers do as well, in the form of lower payroll taxes.”

The iCommute program provides a range of free assistance to workers and employers, encouraging the use of public transit, vanpools and other sustainable commute choices. SANDAG also helps employers establish commuter programs.

Commuters or employers can lease a vehicle through one of the iCommute contracted vanpool vendors and receive up to $400 per month to help offset the cost of the lease. The program has more than 700 vanpools.

For more information about the transit benefit and the subsidized regional vanpool program, visit the iCommute website.

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