Transportation Fringe Benefit Program

U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, DC 20436
ADMINISTRATIVE NOTICE: 3001
DATE: 02/14/08
EXPIRES: Until superseded

SUBJECT: Transportation Fringe Benefits Program

1. PURPOSE.

This administrative notice outlines the policies and responsibilities for the administration of, and participation in, the U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) Transportation Fringe Benefits Program. Transportation fringe benefits are issued in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration and the Internal Revenue Service rules and regulations.

The Transportation Fringe Benefits Program includes the tax free parking fringe benefit, the car pool benefit, the mass transit subsidy, and any other transportation fringe benefits adopted by the Commission. Employees who participate in the ITC's Transportation Fringe Benefits Program are responsible for making themselves aware of and complying with ITC internal rules and procedures that govern the receipt of these benefits.

2. EFFECT ON OTHER INTERNAL RULES.

This notice supersedes Administrative Announcement FY-05-07, Using SmarTrip in lieu of Metrocheks dated 4/27/05 and Administrative Notice 3001 dated 09/06/01.

3. DEFINITIONS:

a. Employee

An individual employed by the ITC under Title 5 U.S.C.

b. Car pool

A car pool consists of a group of two or more people using a motor vehicle for transportation to and from work on a full-time basis, or an individual driver with a physical disability or severe mobility impairment.

(1) Individual driver with physical disability.

An employee is considered to be a qualified disabled employee if he/she has a disabled license plate number or a disabled parking permit (which is placed in the windshield) issued by their state of residence.

(2) Individual driver with severe mobility impairment

. An employee is considered to have a physical disability that results in a severe mobility impairment if the employee meets the definition provided in 29 CFR 1614.203, as determined by the Director, Office of Equal Employment Opportunity.

c. Metrochek

A paper fare card.

d. Qualified parking

Parking provided to an employee on or near the premises of the ITC building or a location from which the employee commutes using an automobile as a part of the commute trip and mass transit for the remainder of the trip. Such term shall not include any parking on or near property used by the employee for residential purposes.

e. Qualified transportation fringe benefit

The use of appropriated funds by the ITC provided to an employee for a transit pass, and/or a qualified parking permit.

f. SmarTrip

A reusable, rechargeable plastic card.

g. Transit pass

Any pass, fare card, voucher, or similar item entitling a person to transportation (or transportation at a reduced price) if such transportation is on mass transit facilities (whether or not publicly owned) or provided by any qualified person in the business of transporting persons for compensation or hire.

4. POLICIES:

a. Tax free parking fringe benefit

. The tax free parking fringe benefit, at a minimum, will provide ITC employees--individuals and car pool members-- tax free parking at the ITC building at 500 E Street, SW., up to the maximum allowable under the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 132(f)). Parking permits for the ITC building will be purchased from the Commission.

b. Car pool benefit

. The car pool benefit is based on a sliding fee scale with the criteria determined by the Director, Office of Administration. Car pools consist of either two people or one person with a physical disability.

c. Mass transit subsidy.

The mass transit subsidy provides for the monthly distribution of qualified transit benefits up to the limit established by law or actual commuting costs, whichever is lower. ITC employees who are not full-time car pool parking members with ITC or any other Federal agency, and who expect to commute via public mass transportation may receive a mass transit subsidy.

5. RESPONSIBILITIES:

a. The Director, Office of Administration is responsible for the overall Transportation Fringe Benefit Program to include its program planning, implementation, and evaluation.

b. The Director, Office of Facilities Management (FM), or his designee, is responsible for registering and enrolling participants and checking eligibility based upon the applications submitted; determining and verifying the amount of the subsidy for each participant and issuing and collecting the appropriate materials (e.g., fare cards, SmarTrip cards or parking permits); negotiating with transit authorities; maintaining data on approved transit providers, the number of participating employees, fare cards issued, and the expenditure of funds; and acting as the approving official.

c. The Travel and Transportation Management Officer is responsible for providing advice and recommendations to the Director, FM and the Director, Office of Administration, with regards to regulation changes, program planning, implementation and evaluation of the program and the establishment of its policy.

d. First line supervisors are responsible for signing employees' applications, thus acknowledging and authorizing the employees' participation in the program.

e. Employees are responsible for making the appropriate request for a transportation fringe benefit, submitting all required paperwork, and advising the FM when their situation has changed (i.e., changes in work schedule or monthly costs; when leave and/or official travel affects monthly allocation; etc. ). Employees must certify in writing that they are eligible to receive a transit pass for their commute by public transportation to and from work, and will not transfer the transit pass to any other individual. Giving or selling a transportation benefit or transit pass to another individual is prohibited. If an employee is terminated or stops commuting via mass transit during the month, the unused portion of the transit pass must be turned in to FM.

Employees using the ITC parking garage park at their own risk and are responsible for observing the maximum speed limit of 5 miles per hour when in the parking garage. Parking permit holders are responsible for reporting in writing to the Director, FM, any changes related to their assignment of a parking permit within 5 calendar days of such occurrence. Examples are changes of membership, cars, or license number.

6. PROCEDURES:

All employees who wish to receive a tax free parking fringe benefit or a car pool benefit will be required to complete the application for a parking permit (USITC Form #11, Application - Parking Space) and the request for withholding from their paycheck to pay for the permit (ITC Form #T-100, Request to Establish a Voluntary Debt Deduction). FM will conduct periodic random audits to confirm continuing eligibility. Copies of these forms are available in FM, room 414.

a. Tax free parking fringe benefit.

In order to receive a tax free parking fringe benefit, employees must purchase their parking permit from the Commission. The annual amount (determined by FM) will be divided into biweekly payments and deducted from the employee's paycheck. Car pools will have the appropriate additional subsidy deducted from this amount.

Employees are responsible for revising or canceling their allotment should their circumstances change. The Commission's parking agreement is on an annual basis. Employees may join or cancel at any time; however, they cannot cancel and then rejoin without specific approval from the Director, FM.

b. Car pool benefit.

The primary applicant for a car pool benefit must be an employee of the ITC. Only full-time riders traveling to and from work on a daily basis should be included on the application as they are the only ones who will be counted in determining whether a car pool is qualified. In order to qualify as a two person car pool, both car pool members must ride both ways each work day, except for those times when one member is not at his or her normal duty location (e.g., leave, travel, all day seminars, etc.). All full-time members must sign the form in person in FM, thus certifying that the information pertaining to them is correct. Part-time riders should not sign the application. Each primary car pool member is responsible for providing current membership data to the Director, FM. This includes any changes in car pool members and frequency of ridership in the car pool.

Temporary employees and contract employees are not eligible to apply as a primary applicant. Any temporary or contract employee listed as a rider must have an appointment which spans the entire year. Contract employees are considered only for qualification as a car pool and may not be provided a direct transportation fringe benefit. Riders need not be employed by the ITC.

Riders will have to provide supervisor contact information. All full-time members of the car pool must certify they are not participating in any other commuter programs. The primary car pool applicant's supervisor must sign the application acknowledging and authorizing the applicant's participation in ITC's car pool program.

c. Mass transit subsidy

In order to receive a mass transit subsidy, employees must complete an "USITC Application for Transit Benefit," which requires certification for receiving a transit benefit and their immediate supervisor's signature on the application.

Qualified employees will be issued an ITC registered SmarTrip card for travel on Metro Bus; Metro Rail, Metro registered vanpools and wherever accepted by regional bus service providers such as the DASH, OmniRide; Fairfax Connector; etc.

Debit cards will be issued to purchase transportation tickets for commuter trains such as Virginia Rail Express (VRE) and MARC; commuter buses such as Keller, Dillon and Eyre; and other qualified van pool operators that do not accept SmarTrip cards. Once these transportation providers are equipped to accept a SmarTrip card, commuters will be required to transition to using a SmarTrip card for their transit benefit.

7. PENALTIES.

Employees will be subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal from employment and possible prosecution for Federal income tax evasion for false certification of an application for a transportation fringe benefit. Employees are also subject to criminal prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 1001, which also provides for fines of up to $5,000 per violation.

Individuals found to be in violation of the above regulations will have their transportation fringe benefits revoked and will not be eligible to participate in the Transportation Fringe Benefits Program for a period of at least one year. Individuals who obtain a benefit under false pretenses may be required to reimburse the Commission for the cost of the benefit for the period of the fraud. Also, individuals who deliberately provide false statements may be subject to other agency administrative actions or civil and criminal penalties.

8. LIMITATIONS.

The amount of a transportation fringe benefit provided by the ITC to a qualified employee and which may be excluded from gross income will be established or revised by administrative announcement, as appropriate.

Where appropriate, qualified transportation fringe benefits or actual costs exceeding the applicable statutory monthly limit are wages for purposes of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), and Federal income tax withholding. When applicable, they will be reported on the employee's Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, by the Office of Finance.

9. PARKING PERMITS.

Qualified applicants will receive a one year parking permit from FM. The parking permit must be hung from the rear view mirror so that it is plainly visible at all times while parked in the parking garage. Car pools utilizing several vehicles will be expected to circulate the permit among their drivers. Car pool permits should not be loaned to individuals outside of the qualified car pool.

10. PARKING AFTER HOURS.

Car pools and individuals who hold an annual parking permit will also receive a magnetic card to be used for after-hours parking.

11. LOSS OF PARKING PERMIT OR AFTER-HOURS ACCESS CARD.

In the event a parking permit or an after-hour card is lost, the primary permit holder will be responsible for cost of the replacement.

12. BICYCLE PARKING.

ITC employees can park bicycles at a rack in the garage at 500 E Street, SW. The rack is located in the first parking space on the right after passing the attendant's office. In order to park a bicycle at the rack, an agreement must be completed whereupon you will be issued a permit. There is no charge for the permit.

13. QUESTIONS.

If you have any questions or need additional information on the Transportation Fringe Benefits Program, please contact the Office of Facilities Management, 205-2741.

________________________

Stephen A. McLaughlin

Director, Office of Administration



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OFFICE OF PRIMARY INTEREST: FM