Parking cash-out

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Sept. 10, 2009 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

SB 728(Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach) authorizes local entities to enforce the provisions of the parking cash-out program (PCOP).  It gives the Air Resources Board the power to impose a $500 civil penalty for a violation of PCOP and also empowers a city, county, air pollution control district or air quality management district to adopt a penalty or other mechanism to ensure that employers within their jurisdiction are in compliance. 

Existing law requires employers to provide a cash allowance to an employee who does not use the company-provided parking in an amount equal to what the employer would otherwise pay for the space.  This requirement only applies if the employer:

    1. Employs at least 50 persons, regardless of the number of work sites;
    2. Is located in an air basin designated nonattainment for any state air quality standard;
    3. Provides free or subsidized employee parking on leased spaces (i.e., on spaces the employer does not own);
    4. Can calculate the expense of the parking subsidy, which means the parking is leased separately from the building or office space; and
    5. Is able to reduce the number of leased parking spaces without financial penalty. 

Sponsors of the bill, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council, say the bill is a means to ease traffic congestion, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote social equity, and support investments in other travel modes. On the other hand the Council for Environmental and Economic Balance say that the parking cash-out program may lead to unintended consequences, such as employees continuing to commute as single-occupant drivers and parking in surrounding neighborhoods or in nearby parking facilities while accepting cash for not parking in the company parking lot.

SB 728 passed by both houses of the Legislature and is going to the Governor for his signature or veto. 

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