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Thread: Bicycle Benefit Commuter Act

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    Default Bicycle Benefit Commuter Act

    A House Bill to restore and improve bicycle commuter benefits has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee of which Don Beyer is a member. The bill would allow up to $53 a month, pre-tax and wouldn't be structured as a reimbursement like the previous benefit. It would also allow flexibility to use along with the parking benefit and also be used on bikeshare. Overview is below.


    The bicycle is the most efficient form of urban transportation ever devised. Cycling reduces
    carbon emissions, provides enormous physical and mental health benefits, and is one of the most
    cost-effective modes of transportation available. Communities across the country have realized
    these benefits and substantially invested in building better bike networks and improving facilities
    for biking to work. Across America, more than 100 communities of all sizes have installed or
    permitted bikeshare systems, supporting a nationwide network of nearly 5,000 stations, more
    than 100,000 bikes, and more than 120 million trips since 2010. These investments are one of the
    reasons that rates of biking to work have nearly doubled since 2000 while driving and public
    transportation rates have increased by 16 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

    THE PROBLEM—NO CURRENT INCENTIVE TO COMMUTE BY BIKE

    Despite these impressive developments, there is no commuter tax benefit for biking to work—
    like we have for parking and transit. First enacted in 2009, the bicycle commuter benefit was a
    tax benefit that employers could offer to provide a reimbursement of up to $20/month for
    expenses relating to bicycle commuting expenses. But if an employee elected to take advantage
    the bicycle commuting reimbursement, they were not eligible to receive transit or parking
    commuter benefits. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (PL 115-97), suspended the bicycle commuting
    reimbursement benefit through 2025, taking away a valuable financial incentive for people who
    choose to bike to work.

    THE SOLUTION—REINSTATE, MODIFY, AND EXPAND THE BICYCLE COMMUTER TAX BENEFIT

    With more employees choosing to bike to work, it is critical that Congress reinstates the bicycle
    commuter benefit and also uses this opportunity to improve the benefit to reflect present-day
    commuting options. The Bicycle Commuter Act of 2019 reverses the bicycle commuter benefit’s
    suspension in Public Law 115-97 and changes the structure of the benefit by:

    1) Making the benefit a pre-tax benefit, like parking and transit, rather than a
    reimbursement;
    2) Allowing employees to receive a bicycle benefit of up to 20% of the parking benefit
    (currently equals $53/month for bicycling, indexed to inflation);
    3) Allowing the bicycle benefit to be used in concert with the transit and parking benefits;
    4) Adding bikeshare as eligible for the benefit and clarifying that electric bikes are eligible.

    Employees don’t commute the same way every day. They might bike into work on a Monday,
    take transit in inclement weather on Tuesday, and then drive into work on Wednesday to run
    errands after work. Alternatively, some employees take bikeshare from their house to a transit
    station and then take the train or bus into work. Present-law doesn’t provide a benefit for all of
    these scenarios, but it should. The Bicycle Commuter Act provides the flexibility that people
    need while also incentivizing a clean and healthy mode of transportation: the bicycle.

    The Bicycle Commuter Act of 2019 is endorsed by: Coalition for Smarter Transportation
    (CoaST), The League of American Bicyclists, New York City Department of Transportation,
    PeopleForBikes, The Safe Routes to Schools Partnership.

  2. #2
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    If you'd like some letter language to send to Rep. Beyer, here's an example:

    Dear Representative Beyer,

    Thank you for your leadership in helping our City, and communities around the country, confront
    the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19.

    We write today to request that you extend the Commuter Tax Benefit to cover commuters’
    use of bicycles, e-bikes and bikeshare by Co-sponsoring the Bicycle Commuter Act (HR 1507).
    This important piece of legislation allows commuters to exercise a pre-tax benefit to cover the
    cost of a commute to work by bicycle, and gives those commuters flexibility in applying the
    Commuter Tax Benefit to multiple modes.

    In cities across the globe emerging from COVID-19, there has been a slow return to transit, and a
    quick return (and even growth) in private car travel. 1 If we do not take decisive action to
    incentivize our citizens to return to sustainable, efficient modes of transportation as they return to
    work, we will face unprecedented levels of congestion on our streets and roadways. The
    resulting loss in productivity and economic activity would hamper the already grueling recovery
    ahead.

    Bicycling, by contrast, is among the most efficient modes of transportation available. Tens of
    thousands of residents now commute by private bicycle or bikeshare, freeing up space on our
    roadways and relieving pressure on our transit system. These efficiencies will only become more
    important as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, and space on our streets become an even
    more precious resource. The Bicycle Benefit Act will provide a helpful nudge to residents to
    choose efficient, socially-distant forms of transportation as they return to work.

    As you are well aware, our residents are facing profound economic insecurity as a result of
    COVID-19. Even among those lucky enough to keep their jobs, many are dealing with pay cuts or
    other financial pressures on their personal budgets. This pain is particularly acute for our low-
    income residents, for whom transportation is the second largest household expense, after
    housing. Extending the Commuter Tax Benefit to bicycles and bikeshare will help residents
    weather the immediate financial insecurity of the COVID-19 crisis while creating long-term
    savings to see them through the long recovery ahead.

    We appreciate your consideration of this matter - please do not hesitate to reach out with any
    questions.

    Sincerely,

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    Wow...I like it...sending it to my boss and co workers!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    Judd's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone who sent a note to Rep. Beyer. I’ve received word that he intends to support the legislation in the Ways and Means Committee.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    This would be so awesome. I'm fortunate US DOT still has the $20/mo post-tax reimbursement but it's not much and a serious PITA to keep track of. Compare to the Metro subsidy of $100's per month that is auto debited to a card.

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