Commute Bill Creates Bureaucracy We Can’t Afford

California state legislature chambers.

As a daily bike commuter it pains me to oppose California SB 582, a commute benefits bill proposed by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco.)

If you read the bill it comes across as bureaucratic entanglement that companies and our state can’t afford.

I wonder who will administer the program? Who will monitor employees to be sure they’re not taking advantage of the bill’s benefits, and who will monitor businesses to be sure they’re honest? A company with only 20 employee may find the bill’s requirements a burden.

While I would like to receive a tax credit for riding my bike to work, isn’t our state government bankrupt? Do we want to add to our financial insolvency? Aren’t we all opposed to big government?

However, there are some situations where such an arrangement could be a win-win for companies and employees. For example, if a company could save on parking costs (all subsidized, unseen costs) because employees mostly commute by public transit, ride a bike, walk, etc., that’s great. Maybe it could be applied to new buildings as they’re built.

Companies can offer incentives without government involvement. The Bay Area is built around the car, so incentives may not be enough.

For now, I say let the free market decide how we commute. As the price of oil rises, people will find cheaper ways to get to work without the car. It may mean changing jobs.

I ride my bike because I enjoy it. Inevitably, that’s how any activity becomes a lifelong pursuit.

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