Unsurprisingly, the US Congress tucked a few goodies into the financial bailout bill that passed today. Surprisingly, one of those goodies is actually good for bike commuters. Yes, the Bicycle Commuter Act, which gives incentives for employers whose employees bike to work, just became law!
There’s a great rundown of what it all means over here. But in a nutshell:
The Bicycle Commuter Act gives employers $20 a month tax relief for each employee who bicycles to work. It covers the cost of employer reimbursements to employees for buying, improving or repairing a bicycle or paying for bike parking.
It was first introduced some seven years ago by Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Portland. The Democrat opposes the bailout and voted against it on Friday, putting himself in the…position of voting against his pet project.
Looks like the sort of thing that could give a slight boost for bike-to-work programs. Of course, the effects are likely pretty modest—an independent taxpayer group pegged it at a cost of $10 million, which in a nation as huge as the US isn’t a big deal. Still, it’s a help—and at this point, I’ll take any good news I can get.