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A. The City of Berkeley is committed to protecting the public health, safety, welfare and environment. Air pollution is one of the major public health threats in Berkeley and contributes to asthma and other respiratory diseases. Encouraging commuters to use public transit, vanpools, and bicycles to reach their place of employment will reduce air pollution from private cars.

B. Berkeley’s General Plan Policies T-3, T-10, and T-14 call for programs and laws to encourage employers to enable more employees to use public transit and other alternative commute modes through provision of pre-tax commute benefits.

C. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s 2005 Ozone Strategy Transportation Control Measures 1 and 13 target commute travel, which accounts for approximately twenty-five (25) percent of trips and thirty-three (33) percent of vehicle miles travelled on a typical weekday.

D. The Federal Transit Administration Transit Cooperative Research Program Report 107 (2005) reports that employer transit benefits programs reduce single occupancy commuting by an average of ten (10) percent.

E. Expanded commuter benefits programs are expected to help the City achieve its adopted goal to reduce Berkeley greenhouse gas emissions thirty-three (33) percent by 2020, and eighty (80) percent by 2050.

F. The City of Berkeley and many public and private employers in Berkeley currently offer employees the opportunity to elect to use pre-tax dollars to purchase qualifying transit and vanpool expenses.

G. The City will assist employers to establish the required commuter benefit programs through its website, print materials, webinars, and other technical assistance.

H. Federal tax law, Internal Revenue Code Section 132(f), allows employers and employees to reduce the cost of public transit by enabling employers to deduct as a business expense, qualified transportation benefits that the employer provides for employees’ personal transportation costs for commuting to and from work, or by allowing employees to elect to purchase qualifying transit passes or reimbursement for vanpool rides with pre-tax dollars. Additional benefits and maximum deduction allowances may be changed or added to IRS Code Section 132(f) from time to time. Any commute benefits allowed pursuant to IRS Code Section 132(f) as amended from time to time, including any added after passage of the ordinance codified in this chapter are to be included in the ordinance codified in this chapter by reference, with the exception of pre-tax commute parking benefits.

I. This chapter will preserve and enhance the environment within the City of Berkeley and is exempt from the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), pursuant to CEQA Guidelines 15307 and 15308. (Ord. 7113-NS § 1 (part), 2009)