Here’s a bit of interesting news. Did you know a Bicycle Commuter Act was part of the recently signed Financial Bailout Package? The League of American Bicyclists says:
After seven long years, the bicycle commuter tax provision has finally passed both the House and Senate as part of the financial bailout package. President Bush has said that he is eager to sign the legislation. “We are delighted that the bicycle commuter benefits act has passed after a lengthy and persistent campaign spearheaded by Congressman Blumenauer (D-OR),” said League President Andy Clarke. “Bicycle commuters will now be extended similar benefits to people who take transit and drive to work – it’s an equitable and sensible incentive to encourage greater energy independence, improve air quality and health, and even help tackle climate change. Thanks to everyone who has helped reach this milestone, especially Walter Finch and Mele Williams, our government relations staff over the years who have worked tirelessly with Congressman Blumenauer, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and many others in Congress.”
So what is in this plan exactly? According to Tim’s Bicycles and Icicles blog, “In a nutshell, this thing provides money that will allow employers to reimburse bike commuters up to $240 per year “for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee during such calendar year for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment.”
As Tim says, this plan won’t be automatic, and employers will actually have to participate and work with the federal government. If you were able to get the reimbursement though, this would easily pay for expenses like tires and brakes, making your bicycle commute even more affordable.
Of course this is all assuming we still have a government by the end of the year, haven’t passed into martial law, or haven’t regressed back to the stone age. The news is getting scarier every day!
Keep checking back at League of American Bicyclists for the latest news on the implementation process.