This issue includes:
- The Maryland Commuter Tax Credit Expansion
- New Employer Partner: OFFICENSE
- Upcoming Webinars
- MDOT MTA East-West Transit Corridor Feasibility Study
- Rideshare Coordinator Spotlight
- MDOT Maryland Highway Safety Office's Summer Driving Safety Tips
- incenTrip Updates
- Guaranteed Ride Home
- Upcoming Events
- Stay Connected & Informed
Effective July 1, Maryland Businesses have more ways to Earn Tax Credits by Providing Employees with Commuting Options
Legislation expanding the Maryland Commuter Tax Credit program took effect July 1, giving in-state businesses credits when providing employees with additional commuting options. The legislation expanding tax credit opportunities was sponsored by the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and approved by the General Assembly during its 2022 session.
The Maryland Commuter Tax Credit allows businesses to be reimbursed for up to 50% of employer-provided commuter costs – up to $100 per employee. Legislation expanding the program allows additional commuter options to qualify for tax credits, including employer-supported carpooling and teleworking, as well as employee participation in “active transportation” such as walking, bicycling or use of a scooter as a commuting choice.
Tax credits also are now available to help offset costs of “last-mile” needs – helping employers pay for up to five miles of multimodal travel connecting an employee with a non-single-occupancy travel mode to or from work. An example would be an employee using a ride hailing service to bridge the gap between a transit stop and their work site.
As commuting has largely returned to levels at or near pre-pandemic volumes, many Marylanders have expressed a willingness to consider commuting options. The new additions bolster existing options allowed under the program, such as employer-supported transit, vanpool, cash in lieu of parking and guaranteed ride home provisions.
“The expansion of the Maryland Commuter Tax Credit gives employers and employees greater benefits and flexibility,” MDOT Secretary James F. Ports, Jr. said. “By providing more commuting options that qualify for tax credits, Maryland is working to ease congestion, conserve energy and protect the environment. The tax credits also help employers attract and retain the best talent, making Maryland even more competitive in the marketplace.”
New Employer Partner: OFFICENSE
Located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, OFFICENSE provides flexible workspace solutions and administrative services to a range of large and small companies. OFFICENSE depends on its detail oriented, problem-solving staff to provide clients with top-tier service. With employees’ daily commutes plagued by rush hour traffic in and around the Inner Harbor, OFFICENSE knew something had to be done to improve the quality of life of its employees. To support employee wellbeing,
OFFICENSE reached out to Commuter Choice Maryland to understand how to improve their employees’ commutes.
“Assisting our staff by providing alternate, less stressful, and more economical forms of transportation to and from the office was a natural fit for our company’s philosophy.”
-Noah Shumway Director, Sales and Marketing
To learn more about OFFICENSE and to read the full story, click here
The Commuter Choice Maryland Employer Partner Program seeks to recognize employers and organizations for their leadership in offering transportation benefits and creative program incentives to their employees. These leadership efforts help Maryland to reduce congestion, conserve energy, protect the environment and improve the quality of life of all Marylanders. When you become a partner, you unlock the free benefits, including
complimentary support, help with a custom transportation plan and an employee travel behavior survey, an option to feature your employer/organization’s success story, an option for a webinar spotlight, and access to employer assistance resources.
To see a full list of partners and to become a partner today, click on the button below.
Insights on the Return to Onsite Work: Trends, Employer Engagement, and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Benefits
Commuter Choice Maryland is hosting a webinar with special guest Julie Bond, Program Director of Best Workplaces for Commuters on August 31, 2022, at 12 pm EST. In this session, Julie will discuss observed trends as the return to onsite work increases, the role of TDM benefits, and how employers are engaging employees who are reevaluating their commutes.
A Behavior Change Perspective on Trying a New Commute
Commuter Choice Maryland is hosting a webinar with special guest David Straus, Executive Director Association for Commuter Transportation on October 19, 2022, at 12 pm EST. In this session, David will discuss return to work trends, the role of TDM benefits, and strategies for engaging employees who are thinking about trying a new commute.
MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) and Local Jurisdictions Release East-West Transit Corridor Feasibility Study
The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) and its regional partners – Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County – have completed the first phase of a feasibility study for the development of an East-West Transit Corridor for the region. The corridor study was proposed as part of the Regional Transit Plan (RTP), a 25-year plan released in October 2020 to improve public transportation in Central Maryland. The
East-West Transit Corridor study area includes Essex, Bayview, Downtown Baltimore, West Baltimore, Woodlawn, and Ellicott City, with seven alternatives developed for further consideration utilizing stakeholder feedback and a market analysis of travel patterns, transit ridership, land use and market conditions. Travel modes considered included Heavy Rail Transit, Light Rail Transit and Bus Rapid Transit, each with its various alignments, infrastructure elements like tunnels and transit streets,
and variable station spacing.
These proposed alternatives include:
- Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from Bayview to Ellicott City via Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA)
- BRT from Bayview to Ellicott City via Johns Hopkins Hospital and US 40
- Heavy Rail (Metro SubwayLink) Transit from Bayview to Edmondson Village, BRT from Edmondson Village to Ellicott City
- Light Rail Transit from Essex to CMS/SSA via Bayview and Johns Hopkins Hospital
- BRT from Essex to CMS/SSA via Bayview and Johns Hopkins Hospital
- Light Rail Transit from Bayview to CMS/SSA via the waterfront
- BRT from Bayview to CMS/SSA via the waterfront
MDOT MTA and its partner jurisdictions are seeking stakeholder feedback on the results of their analysis by the conclusion of a 60-day comment period that ends August 1, 2022. Comments are being gathered through the project website, two virtual public meetings that were held on June 23rd and 29th, and at pop-up events at transit stops and other locations. MDOT MTA and its partner jurisdictions will utilize the feedback as a basis for selecting a reduced set
of alternatives that will move into the Alternatives Analysis Phase before one option is selected to apply for funding. The Alternatives Analysis Phase is planned to begin in fall 2022.
Rideshare Coordinator Spotlight: Meg Young, Baltimore City
Meg Young is the Mobility Manager for the Baltimore City Department of Transportation. Gladys Hurwitz, with Commuter Choice Maryland, had the pleasure of interviewing Kendall about her role and current projects; what she enjoys most about her
job; Baltimore City's transportation needs; and Baltimore City's commuter program, iRide.
“Everyone has options on how they commute and I think everyone should try a new one.”
To get in touch with Meg and to learn more about how she can help you, please see her contact information below.
MDOT Maryland Highway Safety Office's (MHSO) Summer Driving Safety Tips
Whether you are commuting into the office, traveling for vacation, or going for a leisurely drive, it's important to remember these tips to keep you, your passengers, and other motorists safe this summer.
- Always wear a seat belt: even if you’re just driving a few blocks over to a friend’s house for a barbecue, fasten your seatbelt. Most car crashes happen close to home, so buckle up. Every seat,
- Follow posted speed limits: you might be in a hurry, but the reality is that speeding is dangerous and it’s unlikely that your additional speed will save much time. Speed limits are set for ideal
circumstances, so always remember to adjust your speed during inclement weather and in work zones - which are more common in the summer.
- Keep your eyes (and attention) on the road: anything that takes your eyes or focus off the road is a distraction - from other passengers, cellphones, adjusting the radio,
applying makeup, and even daydreaming. Everyone should strive to not be distracted and do their best to eliminate them while driving.
- Be extra vigilant on weekends and evenings: Friday and Saturday evenings are especially dangerous, resulting in the highest numbers of fatal crashes during the summer. Even if the roads are less crowded, there may be more dangerous behaviors among drivers on the road. Watch for signs of impaired or aggressive driving. Call 9-1-1 if you see concerning behavior and do not attempt to follow the vehicle.
- Be the SOBER Driver or Be the MAKE A PLAN Driver: Remember, the only safe Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) for driving is 0.0 as impairment can occur after only one drink. When visiting with friends or family for a celebration that involves alcohol, plan to stay the night or find a sober ride home with a designated sober driver, public transit, or a rideshare.
For additional information, visit the Zero Deaths Maryland website by clicking the button below.
incenTrip: Inspiring and Rewarding Maryland Commuters
In 2021, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Commuter Choice Maryland program successfully launched the free, mobile application aimed at helping Maryland commuters save time and money, while also earning cash rewards when they take transit, rideshare, or use other alternatives to driving alone during the peak commute times.
Redeeming your earned points keeps getting easier with new options, including PayPal, a VISA gift card option, and most recently with the NIFT gift reward option. NIFT rewards allow you to use your gift cards at many local businesses and online. Keep an eye on the incenTrip website as other incentives will be coming soon, including the WMATA SmarTrip card. New users can also now receive 500 points towards $5 in earned incentives just for
downloading and registering a new account in the app!
To learn more about how to use the app; the benefits of incenTrip; and to download the app, visit the incenTrip website by clicking the button below.
If you are enjoying the incenTrip app, please leave us a review!
Stuck at Work and Need a Ride? Guaranteed Ride Home has You Covered
Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) is a FREE program that allows commuters to take advantage of up to six emergency rides home per year when unexpected emergencies arise. In addition, GRH can be used for unscheduled overtime when your employer mandates that you stay late.
Knowing that you are guaranteed to get home provides peace of mind for those who take transit, or ride in vanpools or carpools at least two times per week.
The Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary’s Office (MDOT TSO) in cooperation of the MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) and the State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) took the initiative to produce GRH signs for the Park & Ride Lots in the Washington/Baltimore region. To date, there are 19 MDOT SHA Park & Ride Lots and seven MDOT MTA Park & Ride Lots that carry the GRH signage. Many local jurisdictions will also be joining the effort
by posting signs at County-owned Park & Ride Lots.
The signs provide a phone number (1-800-745-RIDE) and website (CommuterChoiceMaryland.com) in order for commuters to enroll in the GRH program.
To sign up for Guaranteed Ride Home today, click here or call 1-800-745-RIDE.
Stay Connected & Informed
Commuter Choice Maryland representatives are always looking for opportunities to share information about commuter benefits and tax credits, either in-person or virtually. If you have an event that you would like Commuter Choice Maryland to be a part of,
or are seeking more information on commuter and employer benefits, please contact us at [email protected]
For more information on Commuter Choice Maryland, please contact us at 410-865-1100 or email [email protected]
. Representatives are available to assist Monday—Friday, 8:00 am—4:30 pm. Visit our website at: www.commuterchoicemaryland.com
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