Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board of Directors will conduct a public hearing to consider adoption of proposed Regulation 14: Mobile Source Emissions Reduction Measures, Rule 1: Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program, and also to consider adoption of a CEQA Negative Declaration. The hearing is slated for 9:45 a.m. March 19 at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Office, 939 Ellis St. in San Francisco. Written comments on the regulatory proposal and negative declaration will be accepted until 5 p.m. Feb. 21.
The program would apply to employers with 50 or more full-time employees within the jurisdiction of the Air District, which includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, as well as the western portions of Solano County and the southern portion of Sonoma County. The total number of full-time employees includes all Bay Area worksites combined.
The program would require these employers to select one of four commuter benefit options to offer their employees.
- Option 1: Pre-tax option. Allow employees to exclude their transit or vanpooling costs from taxable wages, consistent with Section 123(f) for the Internal Revenue Code.
- Option 2: Employer-provided subsidy. A transit or vanpool subsidy to reduce or cover employees’ monthly transit/vanpool costs, to a maximum of $75 per month.
- Option 3: Employer-provided transit. A free or low-cost shuttle, vanpool or bus service, operated by or for the employer.
- Option 4. An alternative commuter benefit that would be as effective as the other options in reducing drive-alone commuter trips (and/or vehicle emissions).
In addition, employers would be required to register through an online registration process, designate a contact person, notify employees of the commuter benefits selected, maintain records to document implementation of the commuter benefit, and provide information necessary to evaluate the Program. If the Air District Board of Directors adopt the proposed rule and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission concurs with this action, then employers would have six months from the effective date of the rule to select one of the commuter benefit options and comply with the requirements of the program.
For more information, contact Javier Gonzalez, director of government affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org 408.416.6344. Questions, comments, and feedback welcome.