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Buckley to begin van pool program

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- It's a well-known fact that Americans love their cars, and the security of having them parked right outside the door. But, as the burden of economic instability spreads throughout the nation and gas prices continue to fluctuate, commuters have been finding alternatives to sitting behind the wheel. More and more people are realizing they might do better to find other people in their area and all combine together in a larger vehicle.

On April 21, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13150 directing all Federal agencies to establish transportation fringe benefit programs to reduce employees' contribution to traffic congestion and air pollution and to expand commuting alternatives.

The Defense Department Mass Transportation Benefit Program provides a tax-free benefit of up to $230 monthly for federal personnel in their commute from home to work through van pools or commuter bus.

Not all riders in the van pool must be federal employees; however, non-federal van pool members are not eligible for the mass transportation benefit, and must pay the same rate as all other van pool participants. Contractors are advised to check with their human resources department regarding this benefit.

Other DOD installations have been participating in this program for years, and Buckley Air Force Base has now joined the timely movement to conserve gas and energy by van pooling.

Briefings are scheduled below for those who are interested to learn more on the program. There is no confirmed date when the first van pool on Buckley will begin as a projected number of participants are needed in order to submit the application to the Transportation Department. However, once this number has been established, the process from start to finish could be as short as 30-60 days. We are hoping the number of van pools will increase as time goes on and word gets out.

A van pool is simply a group of five to 15 riders sharing a regular ride to work. It's a great opportunity and cost-effective way to commute to and from Buckley.

All vanpool groups will be eligible to receive additional vanpool subsidy from the Denver Region Council of Government program, which means all groups receiving the MTBP will commute for free to work. Emergency ride-home service is provided to participants to cover personal or work emergencies as well.

The DRCOG program is managed by VPSI, Inc., a Commuter Transportation Company that operates commuter transportation programs throughout the world. A VPSI representative will be available on Buckley Nov. 4 at the chapel fellowship hall from 9-10:30 a.m. and from 1-2:30 p.m. to explain the van pooling program and MBTP procedure.

If you are unable to attend this briefing and are interested to join a vanpool, please email Alice Lee-Cook, VPSI directly at alice.leecook@vpsiinc.com and visit www.militaryvanpool.com.
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