Deadline Approaching for Commuter Benefits Program
With near crisis traffic congestion and compounding commute challenges, the Bay Area Council is getting behind a new program that provides employees benefits for not driving solo to work. Under the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program, jointly launched by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District), businesses with 50 or more full-time employees are required by law to offer commuter benefits to their employees by September 30, 2014.
The Bay Area Council in conjunction with other business associations across the region sent a letter of support to local employers detailing the robust resources available to educate and assist them with tailoring a program that best suits the needs of their businesses and employees. “Designing the right package of commuter benefits will allow every employer to ease the burden of commuting on its employees, reduce the business cost that it suffers from commute delay, and participate in the broad community of employers that are collectively improving traffic conditions for everyone,” the letter states.
With the economic costs associated with commute delay estimated at $4 billion in 2011, the program will help promote the use of alternative commute modes, reduce traffic congestion and emissions of greenhouse gases, improve air quality and protect public health, and save money for employers and employees by expanding the use of the commuter tax benefit provisions in the federal tax code. With an extensive and varied selection of options from which employers can choose, the Commuter Benefits Program will encourage employees to take mass transit, vanpool, carpool, bicycle and walk rather than drive alone to work.
The Bay Area Council urges employers to visit commuterbenefits.511.org to learn how to create a commute program that is right for their business. To engage in the Council’s transportation work, please contact Policy Vice President Michael Cunningham.