Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bike commuter benefit in Energy Bill

The House recently passed the Energy bill which includes a $20/month benefit for bike commuters. According to a press release on Congressman Earl Blumenauer's website:
The Commuter Benefit for bikers amends section 132(f) of the IRS code to include "bicycles" in the definition of transportation covered by fringe benefits. Included in the Ways and Means energy bill is a benefit of $20/month for those employees who bike to work, which is a clean, healthy and efficient mode of transportation. The provision is based on H.R. 1498, legislation introduced by Blumenauer earlier this year.
Apparently some Republicans were not happy about this almost minuscule effort to support bike commuting. According to Congressman Patrick McHenry:
They [Democrats] want to tell the American people, stop driving, ride a bike. This is absolutely amazing. Apparently, the Democrats believe that the miracle on two wheels that we know as a bicycle will end our dependence on foreign oil. I cannot make this stuff up. It is absolutely amazing.
I suggest that Congressman McHenry venture out beyond the confines of DC or Hickory, NC, his home town, and visit places like the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, France, and elsewhere, places where the bicycle is a serious component of their transportation system, where bicycle parking is readily available, bike lanes are built as a matter of course on most new roads, and a large percentage of the population uses the bike for trips each day. Kudos to the Democrats for passing this legislation, which by the way finally does away with the Hummer Tax Loophole, which allowed businessmen to write off the cost of vehicles weighing over 6,000 lbs.

See also the Bike Portland blog entry about McHenry's speech.

Write your U.S. Senators to ask them to support the engery bill.

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