Friday, October 3, 2008

Bicycle Commuter Act passes as part of bailout bill

The final text of the bailout bill includes the Bicycle Commuter Act otherwise known as SEC. 211. TRANSPORTATION FRINGE BENEFIT TO BICYCLE COMMUTERS. What it amounts to is that cyclists can deduct $20/month for expenses related to bike commuting: "bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee's residence and place of employment." Even though Congressman Blumenauer of Oregon who introduced this in 2005, he voted against the bailout. Read more at Streetsblog and Biking Bis. Full text of the bill.

Update 5Oct2008: Bike Portland has a good post on the Bike Commuter Act portion of the bailout bill, including a comment from Congressman Blumenauer's office that: "the reality is that no one really knows how/when this will be implemented.

Under normal circumstances, it would take several months at least for this to be figured out... and now with the crazy budget situation we're in.. who knows.

this has just been authorized... but the funds have not been appropriated and how it will be written into the tax code is still to be decided.

best I can say at this point is stay tuned. i've asked Blumeneauer's office for more information and will share it as soon as i can."

In another comment there is a link to the tax code that is amended by Sec. 201, which currently gives an employer a $200 per month tax write-off for parking.

In a third comment: "It seems like if you rode every month of the year your employer could give you $240 in this type of benefit and write it off and the employee would not have to pay income tax."

There are still many unanswered questions about how the benefit will be implemented.

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