Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

The March/May, 2012, issue of the NEW MEXICO RAIL RUNNER EXPRESS MAGAZINE had a very infor­mative article on an extremely useful organization called the Small Business Partnership Program. Funded by the Federal Transit Administration, the SBP helps regional transit districts like the Rio Metro Transit District, which serves Albuquerque and other mem­bers along the Los Alamos— Socorro corridor, by helping small businesses and their employees/customers find commuting alternatives by reducing the dependency upon single-occupancy private auto­mobiles on our roadways.

Using a $257,000.00 grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program (CMAQ), the SBP takes several steps to educate employers and their employ­ees on adopting alternatives to total reliance on the pri­vate automobile conveyance.

SBC’s major selling point is that it does NOT cost employers a cent. SBP has three levels of participa­tion for employers: Bronze; Silver; and Gold levels. The University of New Mexico’s main campus, its medical center, and its West/Rio Rancho campus have satisfied requirements for member­ship on the Gold level. CNM, although it does do its part by providing students and staff with bus passes and rail dis­counts, does not yet occupy any of these three levels with the SBP.

Bronze participants must complete a partner sign-up form, appoint at least one on-site transportation coordina­tor, allow Rio Metro/ABQ Ride to survey the staff annu­ally to determine alternative transportation’s use by that company, to allow Rio Metro to set up employee presenta­tions, to provide on-site trip-planning assistance, and to display transit schedules at the worksite.

Silver partners must allow flexible work schedules when possible to accommo­date public transit, to pay for a portion of employees’ bus and rail passes, to create an internal incentive program to encourage alternative tran­sit use, to add bike racks or promote existing bike rack, to provide monthly tran­sit information in employee newsletters or paycheck stuffers and e-mail, and to allow employees to take part in a car-pool matching party at the worksite, amongst other things.

Gold participants must: create designated carpool spaces for employees who share a ride; add bicycle lock­ers at the worksite; host an alternative transportation event; have at least ten per­cent of employees pledge to use alternative transporta­tion at least once a week; to pay for at least fifty percent of employees’ transit passes; to implement a formal telework/ compressed work/flextime program; to offer a shuttle van or vanpool for employees; and to provide fleet vehicles for employee use IF those particular employees use alternative transportation.

For more information about the Small Business Partnership Program, please contact Jay Faught at 1-505- 724-3652 or e-mail at: jfaught@mrcog-nm.gov. Let’s show New Mexico that CNM cares about the future of qual­ity transportation that over­comes gridlock for our region!

William R. Delzell, DRC Dept.

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