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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.

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AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY JULY 7, 2011
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY JUNE 22, 2011
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY JUNE 14, 2011
AMENDED IN SENATE MAY 17, 2011
AMENDED IN SENATE MAY 5, 2011
AMENDED IN SENATE APRIL 28, 2011
AMENDED IN SENATE APRIL 25, 2011
AMENDED IN SENATE MARCH 29, 2011

INTRODUCED BY Senator Emmerson Yee
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Huffman
Hill )

FEBRUARY 17, 2011

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


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 582, as amended, Emmerson Yee .
Commute benefit policies.
Existing law requires transportation planning agencies to
undertake various transportation planning activities, including
preparation of a regional transportation plan. Existing law requires
transportation planning agencies that are designated under federal
law as metropolitan planning organizations to include a sustainable
communities strategy as part of the regional transportation plan for
their region. Existing law creates air quality management districts
and air pollution control districts with various responsibilities
relative to reduction of air pollution.
This bill, beginning on January 1, 2013, subject to certain
exceptions, would authorize a metropolitan planning organization
jointly with the local air quality management district or air
pollution control district to adopt a commute benefit ordinance that
requires covered employers operating within the common area of the
organization and district 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 provide for the 8 metropolitan
planning organizations within the region served by a specified air
district to adopt the ordinance only after the district first acts to
adopt the ordinance. The bill would exclude from its provisions an
air district with a trip reduction regulation initially adopted prior
to the federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 as long as it
continues to have a regulation that allows trip reduction as a method
of compliance. The bill would make its provisions inoperative on
January 1, 2017.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.


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.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 40717.9 of the Health and Safety Code,
and except as otherwise provided in subdivision (h), on or after
January 1, 2013, a metropolitan planning organization and a local air
quality management district or air pollution control district 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 organization and
district 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
metropolitan planning organization, 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.
(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
metropolitan planning organization. The metropolitan planning
organization 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 metropolitan planning
organization 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
metropolitan planning organization and the air quality management
district or the air pollution control district adopting the ordinance
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) In the region served by the air pollution control district
established pursuant to Chapter 5.7 (commencing with Section 40600)
of Part 3 of Division 26 of the Health and Safety Code, a commute
benefit ordinance may be adopted pursuant to this section only if it
is first adopted by the district and then by all eight metropolitan
planning organizations located wholly or partially in that region.
(i) Nothing in this section shall limit or restrict the statutory
or regulatory authority of a metropolitan planning organization or an
air quality management district or air pollution control district.
(j) On or before July 1, 2016, a metropolitan planning
organization and an air quality management district or air pollution
control district that implement a commute benefit ordinance as
provided under this section shall 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 to be imposed on noncomplying employers.
(2) Number of employers confirmed to have complied 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.
(7) Number of businesses that received a penalty for not complying
with the ordinance and a description of the penalties imposed.
(k) An air district with a trip reduction regulation initially
adopted prior to the federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 shall
be excluded from this section, as long as it continues to have a
regulation that allows trip reduction as a method of compliance.
(l) A metropolitan planning organization shall not use federal
planning funds in the implementation and enforcement of the commute
benefit ordinance.
(m) As used in this section, the following terms have the
following meanings:
(1) "Covered employer" means any employer for which an average of
20 or more employees per week perform work for compensation within
the area where the ordinance adopted pursuant to this section
operates, except that a metropolitan planning organization, at its
option, may provide for the ordinance to apply solely to employers
with 50 or more employees otherwise meeting the requirements of this
paragraph. 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.
(n) 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.