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Employers with a permanent place of business in the City of Santa Monica that have more than 10 employees must comply with the Santa Monica Transportation Demand Management Ordinance (“Ordinance”), which is an emission reduction law. This article provides a general overview of the employer requirements under the Ordinance, which includes implementing and submitting a plan to promote work-related transit use, ridesharing, walking and bicycling.

What is the Transportation Demand Management Ordinance?

The purpose of the Ordinance is to implement trip reduction plans that will, among other things, promote and increase work-related transit use, ridesharing, walking and bicycling.

Which employers does the Ordinance apply to?

Employers with a permanent place of business in the City of Santa Monica that have 10 or more employees are subject to the Ordinance. The City requires employers to list all worksites in Santa Monica with 10 or more employees.

Employer Requirements:

  • Employers must pay an annual transportation fee.
  • Employers with 10-29 employees must complete an annual Worksite Transportation Plan (WTP).
  • Employers with more than 30 employees must designate an Employee Transportation Coordinator who will submit an annual Emission Reduction Plan (ERP).

Each employer worksite is assigned a due date by the City of Santa Monica Planning and Community Development (“City”) when the employer must deliver the completed WTP or ERP. Employers can submit their WTP or ERP on the City website or submit a paper version.

What is the required annual transportation fee?

All employers subject the Ordinance, must pay an annual transportation fee. The fee is based on the number of employees multiplied by an “employee cost factor,” which is established by the City Council and increases annually. Employers who implement an employee trip reduction plan, attain an emission target, or join a transportation management organization (City-approved organization that provides transportation services in certain areas) will receive reductions to their annual transportation fee.

Employers submit the Annual Transportation Fee with their Emission Reduction Plan or their Worksite Transportation Plan. Employers can pay the fee online or by mailing a check to the City, per the instructions on the Annual Transportation Fee form.

What is the Worksite Transportation Plan (WTP)?

Employers with 10-29 employees must attend a seminar and submit an annual WTP. The City assigns a due date for the WTP. The WTP must include specific information and must:

  • Estimate how many people drive, walk, bike, ride transit, and carpool to work;
  • Describe the amenities available for employees who choose not to drive;
  • Distribute education materials about transportation services to employees; and
  • Incentivize customers and visitors to walk, bike, ride transit, and carpool.

The City has a paper and online version of the WTP that employers must submit by the date assigned by the City.

What is the Employee Trip Reduction Plan (ERP)?

Employers with more than 30 employees must designate an Employee Transportation Coordinator (ETC) and submit an ERP within 90 days of written notification from the City.

The ETC will be responsible for the development and administration of the ERP. Any individual can become an employer’s ETC by attending a training or by getting trained by a City approved trainer.

ERPs are plans designed by employers to reduce emissions related to employees’ commute and to meet specified emission targets for the subsequent year. To implement the ERP, employers can purchase Mobile Source Emission Reduction Credits (an emission offset credit purchased through verified sources) and/or implement an Employee Trip Reduction Plan.

An Employee Trip Reduction Plan has specific requirements, including:

  • Survey of employees about how they commute;
  • Strategies to increase biking, walking, riding transit, and carpooling to reach employer’s target emissions reduction. Strategies include ongoing education, transit pass reimbursements, and telework policies;
  • Mandatory guaranteed ride home program, which provides employees who rideshare a ride home in the event of an emergency or unplanned overtime at no cost to the employee;
  • A “cash out program” for employers with 50 or more employees who subsidize employees’ parking. A cash-out program means employees can give up their parking space in return for cash equal to the cost of the space. Employers who do not implement a parking cash out plan will have their ERPs disapproved.

The City has a paper and online version of the ERP that employers must submit by the date assigned by the City.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Employers are subject to audits and inspection by the City to ensure compliance. Violations of the Ordinance may lead to business license suspension, violation fines, and/or the imposition of administrative remedies.

Resources:

For questions on the Transportation Demand Management program, contact City staff:

Jack Moreau
Jack.moreau@smgov.net
(310)458-2201 ext. 2344

Emily Han
Emily.han@smgov.net
(310)458-2201 ext. 8956

City of Santa Monica Transportation Demand Management Website 

Santa Monica Transportation Demand Management Ordinance Overview

Worksite Transportation Plan

Emission Reduction Plan

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The information and materials on this blog are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal or tax advice. Information provided in this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments and may vary by jurisdiction. The content on this blog is for general informational purposes only and does not apply to any particular facts or circumstances. The use of this blog does not in any way establish an attorney-client relationship, nor should any such relationship be implied, and the contents do not constitute legal or tax advice. If you require legal or tax advice, please consult with a licensed attorney or tax professional in your jurisdiction. The contributing authors expressly disclaim all liability to any persons or entities with respect to any action or inaction based on the contents of this blog.

Emerald Law– Emerald is a Client Compliance Consultant for Sequoia, where she works with our clients to optimize and streamline benefits compliance. In her free time, Emerald enjoys stand-up comedy, live music and writing non-fiction.