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Warning! This is a not the current version of this legislative bill.
Italicized text includes proposed additions to law or the previous version of the bill.
Struck text includes proposed deletions to law or the previous version of the bill.

(pdf version)
CHAPTER 871
FILED WITH SECRETARY OF STATE SEPTEMBER 30, 2012
APPROVED BY GOVERNOR SEPTEMBER 30, 2012
PASSED THE SENATE MAY 7, 2012
PASSED THE ASSEMBLY JUNE 25, 2012

INTRODUCED BY Senator Yee

FEBRUARY 24, 2012

An act to add and repeal Section 65081 of the Government Code,
relating to transportation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1339, Yee. Commute benefit policies.
Existing law creates the Metropolitan Transportation Commission,
with various transportation planning and programming responsibilities
in the 9-county San Francisco Bay Area. Existing law creates the Bay
Area Air Quality Management District, with various responsibilities
relative to the reduction of air pollution in the area of its
jurisdiction, which incorporates a specified portion of the
jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
This bill would authorize the Metropolitan Transportation
Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to
jointly adopt a commute benefit ordinance that requires covered
employers operating within the common area of the 2 agencies with a
specified number of covered employees to offer those employees
certain commute benefits. The bill would require that the ordinance
specify certain matters, including any consequences for
noncompliance, and would impose a specified reporting requirement.
The bill would make its provisions inoperative on January 1, 2017.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Section 65081 is added to the Government Code, to read:

65081. (a) It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage
metropolitan planning organizations and local air quality management
districts or air pollution control districts to work with local
employers to adopt policies that encourage commuting by means other
than driving alone. To encourage this, the Legislature hereby
establishes a pilot program in that regard in the greater San
Francisco Bay Area.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 40717.9 of the Health and Safety Code,
the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Metropolitan
Transportation Commission with respect to the common area within
their respective jurisdictions may jointly adopt a commute benefit
ordinance that requires covered employers operating within the common
area of the district and commission to offer all covered employees
one of the following choices:
(1) A pretax option: a program, consistent with Section 132(f) of
the Internal Revenue Code, allowing covered employees to elect to
exclude from taxable wages employee commuting costs incurred for
transit passes or vanpool charges, or bicycle commuting, up to the
maximum amount allowed by federal tax law.
(2) Employer-paid benefit: a program whereby the covered employer
offers employees a subsidy to offset the monthly cost of commuting
via public transit or by vanpool. In 2013, the subsidy shall be equal
to either the monthly cost of commuting via transit or vanpool, or
seventy-five dollars ($75), whichever is lower. This amount shall be
adjusted annually consistent with the California Consumer Price
Index.
(3) Employer-provided transit: transportation furnished by the
covered employer at no cost, or low cost as determined by the
district or commission, to the covered employee in a vanpool or bus,
or similar multipassenger vehicle operated by or for the employer.
(c) Nothing in this section shall prevent a covered employer from
offering a more generous commuter benefit that is otherwise
consistent with the requirements of the applicable commute benefit
ordinance. Nothing in this section shall require employees to change
their behavior.
(d) An employer offering, or proposing to offer, an alternative
commuter benefit on the employer's own initiative, or an employer
otherwise required to offer an alternative commuter benefit as a
condition of a lease, original building permit, or other similar
requirement, if the alternative is not one of the options identified
in subdivision (b), may seek approval of the alternative from the
district or commission. The district or commission may approve an
alternative if it determines that the alternative provides at least
the same benefit in terms of reducing single-occupant vehicle trips
as any of the options in subdivision (b). An employer that offers an
approved alternative to covered employees in a manner otherwise
consistent with this section is not required to offer one of the
options in subdivision (b).
(e) The commute benefit ordinance shall provide covered employers
with at least six months to comply after the ordinance is adopted.
(f) An employer that participates in or is represented by a
transportation management association that provides the employer's
covered employees with any of the benefits in subdivision (b), or an
alternative benefit determined by the district or commission pursuant
to subdivision (d) to provide at least the same benefit in terms of
reducing single-occupant vehicle trips as any of the options in
subdivision (b), shall be deemed in compliance with the regional
ordinance, and the transportation management association may act on
behalf of those employers in that regard. The district or commission
shall communicate directly with the transportation management
association, rather than the participating employers, to determine
compliance with the ordinance.
(g) A commute benefit ordinance adopted pursuant to this section
shall specify all of the following: (1) how the implementing agencies
will inform covered employers about the ordinance, (2) how
compliance with the ordinance will be demonstrated, (3) the
procedures for proposing and the criteria that will be used to
evaluate an alternative commuter benefit pursuant to subdivision (d),
and (4) any consequences for noncompliance.
(h) Nothing in this section shall limit or restrict the statutory
or regulatory authority of the commission or district.
(i) On or before July 1, 2016, if the commission and district
implement a commute benefit ordinance as provided under this section,
the two agencies shall jointly submit a report to the transportation
policy committees of each house of the Legislature that includes,
but is not limited to, the following elements:
(1) A description of the program, including enforcement procedures
and any sanctions imposed.
(2) Number of employers complying with the ordinance that did not
previously offer a commute benefit consistent with those required by
the ordinance.
(3) Number of employees who stopped driving alone to work in order
to take transit or a vanpool, or to commute by bicycle, as a result
of the commute benefit ordinance.
(4) Number of single-occupant vehicle trips reduced per month,
week, or day as a result of the commute benefit ordinance.
(5) Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and greenhouse gas emission
reductions associated with implementation of the commute benefit
ordinance.
(6) Greenhouse gas emission reductions associated with
implementation of the commute benefit ordinance as a percentage of
the region's greenhouse gas emission target established by the State
Air Resources Board.
(j) The commission shall not use federal planning funds in the
implementation of the commute benefit ordinance.
(k) As used in this section, the following terms have the
following meanings:
(1) "Covered employer" means any employer for which an average of
50 or more employees per week perform work for compensation within
the area where the ordinance adopted pursuant to this section
operates. In determining the number of employees performing work for
an employer during a given week, only employees performing work on a
full-time basis shall be counted.
(2) "Covered employee" means an employee who performed at least an
average of 20 hours of work per week within the previous calendar
month within the area where the ordinance adopted pursuant to this
section operates.
(3) "District" means the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

(4) "Commission" means the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

(l) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1,
2017, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted
statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2017, deletes or extends
that date.