CCTA offers business- and employee-friendly commuter program

first_imgBrutal economic times spur resourcefulness and innovation, two attributes that aptly describe Smart Business, a new commuting program from the Chittenden County Transportation Authority (CCTA) that delivers savings incentives to savvy employers and their employees.Through the Transportation Equity Act (TEA-21), the federal government provides financial incentives to encourage more workers to commute with public transportation, through programs like Smart Business.The program is convenient and easy to administer. Participating businesses purchase monthly “Smart Passes” for use on CCTA’s local buses and LINK Express regional commuter buses. The employer enjoys flexibility in how much of the benefit to pay for, and how to distribute the passes and administer the program. The Smart Pass can be on hand and available any time an employee wishes to take advantage of public transportation. It can be offered formally as a fully-paid benefit or as a pre-tax transportation, or shared-cost, benefit.“This program is a perfect fit for any manager who wants to retain quality employees,” said CCTA General Manager Chris Cole. “It saves employees real money at a time when every dollar counts and provides business with a tool to recruit and retain employees. “When subsidized commuting costs are offered as a perk, employees and employers reap the rewards. Employees realize a greater real dollar value for their hard work by circumventing the state and federal payroll taxes that come with a traditional raise. They eliminate parking fees or worse yet, regular trips to feed a meter, as well as the hassle of parking a great distance from their workplace. They needn’t budget for unforeseen spikes in gas prices, a concern that drives many quality employees to consider taking a job closer to home. Smart Business provides a reliable, stress-free ride and an opportunity to support global green initiatives, an important factor for many participants.“Smart Business was a factor in my taking the job,” said Chaim Rochester a Burlington commuter who splits his transportation expense with his employer Healthy Living.“The bus is my ride to work and it’s a consistent one, getting me to work regardless of the worst winter weather. Taking the bus saves me from paying all the fees associated with a car.”The amount of money employees can save with Smart Business depends upon their current commuting costs — the longer the commute, the more they’ll save. John Fairbanks at Vermont Housing Finance Agency commutes 400 miles a week from his home in Montpelier. Calling himself “a huge fan,” Fairbanks says “I get up a little earlier in the morning but that’s a trifle weighed against the convenience and savings.” Using the fuel calculator featured on the CCTA website ( it is estimated that Fairbanks realizes an annual savings of more than $2,000. On average, workers spend thousands of dollars a year driving to work each day in a single-occupancy vehicle.A hidden benefit of Smart Business is Sure Ride, a reassuring safety net for Smart Pass holders who experience unexpected overtime, illness or a personal emergency. CCTA will cover cab fare for up to $25 per ride, up to four times a year without a lot of red tape. Pre-approval isn’t required, just a receipt.Employers find enrollment in Smart Business, well, a smart business decision. Apart from all the tax benefits, Smart Business is a great morale booster and recruitment tool that widens the pool of potential quality professionals and provides added value to employment contracts. Partnering with the Smart Business program broadcasts the message that the company cares about its employees and its carbon footprint, a bold statement that increases employee and customer loyalty. Smart Business distinguishes a company in a competitive marketplace. ##last_img read more

Garrett Richards to start opener for Angels, but Shohei Ohtani’s place remains uncertain

first_img“I think Garrett showed that he’s totally healthy and ready to go,” Scioscia said. “The velocity is there. His movement is there. His breaking pitches are there. In his last couple outings, some pitches got away from him at times, and his command wasn’t going. But he had a great spring.”Heaney, who suffered elbow inflammation after his last spring start, will throw off the mound in a bullpen session Tuesday, Scioscia said. Heaney presumably remains a candidate to pitch the first time the Angels need a sixth starter (April 11), but Scioscia said Heaney wouldn’t push things in the bullpen session.“It will be more about just getting out there and getting used to the hill again,” Scioscia said. “Every time he goes out there, it gives us a little more information about where he is, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.” LOS ANGELES — Two down, four to go. The Angels have set their rotation for the first two games of this season, but the rest remains a mystery for now, as does the initial landing spot for Shohei Ohtani.Garrett Richards will start on Opening Day against Oakland on Thursday, as expected, and Tyler Skaggs will start Friday, Manager Mike Scioscia announced before Monday’s game against the Dodgers. Scioscia said he would announce the starters for the Angels’ third and fourth games on Tuesday night.So the Ohtani drama got prolonged for another day, and Scioscia will wait until the end of a scrutinized spring in order to announce a role for Ohtani, the Angels’ prize free-agent signing from Japan.Presumably, Ohtani and Matt Shoemaker (who started Monday) are the candidates to start Saturday against the Athletics. J.C. Ramirez, who is scheduled to start Tuesday’s spring finale against the Dodgers, could start against Oakland on Sunday. Andrew Heaney, the hoped-for sixth member of the rotation, is recovering from elbow inflammation. A look at the 2018 Angels, position by position No matter what, the Angels will hope for a dramatic two-way improvement from Ohtani, given that he had a 27.00 ERA in the spring and had three hits in 28 at-bats going into Monday’s game.“There was a lot on his plate,” Scioscia said. “He’s very, very comfortable and I think he’s confident, and if he’s confident, we’re confident. I’m going to be excited to see how we finish in these last couple games and then we’ll see what happens as we come out of the gate on Thursday.”Ohtani hit eighth in the Angels’ order Monday, near the end of a spring in which his strikeout-to-hit ratio was a startling 3 to 1. Things didn’t go much better on the mound, and on Saturday, in his final spring appearance, Ohtani faced minor-leaguers and gave up two runs in 5-1/3 innings.Scioscia praised that effort, and before Monday’s game he continued to express confidence that Ohtani can hit at the major-league level. Scioscia opined that Ohtani hasn’t looked overmatched against any particular pitches this spring, and that his improvement is continual, even if it hasn’t shown up in stats.“You’re starting to see it in some of the games he has played,” Scioscia said. “Maybe not major-league games in spring training, but in some of the minor-league games. It’s more of a timing issue, but every hitter goes through that.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Angels’ 2018 schedule Angels hope newcomers can boost offense, key improvement in 2018 RICHARDS READYWhile Ohtani remains a question mark, the Angels seem secure in Richards, who will look to make it beyond the first month of the season for the first time since 2015.Richards’ 2016 season ended with an elbow injury in early May. Last year, Richards started the third game of the season but left it with a biceps injury and didn’t return until September.Richards ended the season with a solid five-start stretch and pitched mostly well this spring, although he allowed two runs (and five walks) in 3-2/3 innings in his final major-league spring appearance. Richards faced minor-leaguers Friday and allowed two runs in three innings.Related Articleslast_img read more

Heat’s Erik Spoelstra misses Dwyane Wade, marvels at LeBron’s ‘ridiculous’ start

first_imgLOS ANGELES — Seeing Dwyane Wade sit courtside was a comfort, Erik Spoelstra said, but it could be better.Wade was wearing a red and black track suit, sitting on the baseline near the Miami Heat bench. Retirement in Los Angeles seems to suit him, if not his former team.“If you print this, I’d rather have him in uniform,” Spoelstra deadpanned to the press prior to tip-off. “That’d be good, right? He’s gonna sit right by our bench. So I’m gonna let him take one of our huddles.”As things stand, the Heat have a pretty good team anyway, getting out to a 6-2 start entering Friday night’s game against the Lakers. With new star Jimmy Butler anchoring the franchise, Spoelstra still has a shooting guard to lean on. One of the things he most admires about James is his commitment to his physical well-being, which is why he’s not surprised that the 34-year-old star is still near the top of his game in his 17th season. Spoelstra called James’ willingness to work “uncommon,” which explains how James has managed to stay so youthful even long after his Heat days.Spoelstra was interested, too, in the pairing James is enjoying with Anthony Davis, who he said makes a very natural fit. James has a way of blending into what a roster needs, but Spoelstra believes Davis’ game actually fits James’ natural skills well.“I think that’s part of his genius, is he’s able to morph into whatever he needs to be to bring out the best out of the other players,” he said. “And I think his connection with (Chris Bosh) was pretty natural, and this just fits like a glove with LeBron and A.D., the way they work together. Their skill sets complement each other.”BRIEFLYVeteran point guard Rajon Rondo missed his eighth consecutive game to start the season with a calf strain. The Lakers were planning to ramp up Rondo’s activity in practice this week, but they listed him as doubtful following Thursday’s practice. The team did not shoot around on Friday morning before the game. Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Related Articles Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions center_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersWade visited with the team on Friday afternoon, squeezing in facetime with Miami and his old team after they flew in the night before from Phoenix. He’s moved residences to Southern California, and his son Zaire Wade is a senior standout on the court for Sierra Canyon High alongside Bronny James.While Spoelstra knew Wade would come in support of the Heat, with whom he enjoyed 15 NBA seasons, the Miami coach also knew Wade would likely cheer on his close friend James, at least a little bit.“Ah look, I get it,” he said. “But LeBron always looked better in red and black.”The LeBron in purple and gold isn’t so bad, either, Spoelstra admitted. Going into the game, James was averaging the highest assist total (11.1) of his career and leading the league. Spoelstra coached James to two of his four league MVP awards, but he was more scorer than dish-giver for his best Heat teams.“Every year he’s doing something that’s just ridiculous, that you can’t explain,” Spoelstra said. “That’s why he’s the best player in the game.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more