Thursday, October 2, 2008

Transportation fringe benefit to bicycle commuters.

Regardless of how you feel about the Wall Street bailout bill recently passed by the U.S. Senate, if you're a bike commuter you should be pleased that the bill includes a "Transportation fringe benefit to bicycle commuters" in Sec. 211. Congressman Earl Blumenauer has promoted this legislation for many years. He introduced H.R. 1498, the Bike Commuter Act, extending commuter benefits to bicyclists. It was included in the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act, H.R.5351, which passed the House of Representatives. The same wording has now been passed by both the House and the Senate.

You can read the full text of the bailout bill at CNN. Here is part of Sec. 211:
  • QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT - The term 'qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement' means, with respect to any calendar year, any employer reimbursement during the 15-month period beginning with the first day of such calendar 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.

  • APPLICABLE ANNUAL LIMITATION - The term 'applicable annual limitation' means, with respect to any employee for any calendar year, the product of $20 multiplied by the number of qualified bicycle commuting months during such year.

  • EFFECTIVE DATE - The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.
If the bike commuter provision remains in a bill that is signed into law, it will be a great excuse for a New Year's Day ride to celebrate.

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