House Passes Bailout Bill, Incentivizes Bicycle Commuting

Regardless of weather or not you were in favor of the “bailout bill” or not, enough of our representatives were. While the short term and long term effects of this monumental piece of legislation will play out in the coming weeks, months and years, one thing is for sure: riding a bicycle to work just became even more legitimate in the eyes of our nation’s leaders.

Indeed, the bicycle blogs have been abuzz over the past few days with the potential for Earl Blumenauer’s(D-Oregon) $20 per month bicycle commuter tax credit to finally see the light of day.

Our friends over at Streetsblog had this to say:

“Section 211 of the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008″ allows for a ‘qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement’ 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.’

Other transpo-related items in the bill include credits for biofuels and other “alternative” mixtures, plug-in electric vehicles, and what looks like a few goodies for oil and natural gas producers. Another section includes incentives for green construction and renewable energy production.”

$20 dollars a month is not a hug sum, but I look forward to putting it towards the upkeep of my trusty two-wheeler.

7 Responses to “House Passes Bailout Bill, Incentivizes Bicycle Commuting”

  1. 1 Dave

    Plus about a trillion dollars less spent on things like Transit funding…

  2. 2 Ellen

    $20 a month is not a lot . . . but as my grandpa used to say ‘it’s better than a poke in the eye with a stick’. When you add that $20 to what I save in parking, gas, wear & tear, and insurance, it’s a nice little chunk of monthly change that I didn’t have in my pocket before.

  3. 3 Noah

    You know when you piss off Rush Limbaugh, you’ve hit the big time. I can’t stand the jerk and don’t listen to him, but when I researched the break on-line I came across his anti-bike commuter tax credit rant:

    I commute by bike anyway, but knowing I get a credit AND piss off Rush - that makes my day!

  4. 4 maaaty

    Great news — and I second the joy-in-pissing-off-the-pill-popper sentiment.

    Now, I can’t tell if this is a credit that employers take after implementing a bicycle-incentive program or one that we as individuals/employees take. That would make a huge difference.

    The law is here (page 205): I can’t make heads or tails of it.

  5. 5 Noah

    The bill is written as a credit after reimbursement. If your employer pays you nothing, you get no credit under the provision. If on or after January 1, 2009, your employer gives you $240 to buy a bike, you get that as your credit. One thing that struck me is that if you get a transit pass you cannot get the bike credit as well; ditto for reimbursed parking. Ideally the bike and transit pass credits would work together and be cumulative, particularly since a person who gets parking gets a higher tax credit than the ones getting either the bike credit or the transit pass.

  6. 6 alesh

    Wait, so… what do I do with this? It sounds to me like I have to lobby my employer to set up some sort of “program” to see any benefit. This would be an uphill fight in any case, and for $20 per month (max) it hardly seems worth it on any level. Please advise….

    (ps congrats to TM — I found this link by googling “qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement”.)

  7. 7 alesh

    Note: The Streetsblog post has comments that clarify the situation (it’s not a happy clarification). The link above doesn’t work, but here’s the post:

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