Bikes Belong Action Alert: Call Your U.S. Senators to Support Bicycle Commuting
May 03, 2006
Please help us encourage bicycle commuting by calling your state's two U.S.senators as soon as possible to ask them to co-sponsor the Bicycle Commuters Benefits Act. This proposed federal legislation would give employers the option of reimbursing employees who commute by bicycle $40–$100 per month tax-free. Senate bill 2635 was introduced on April 24 by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon with co-sponsorship from Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (both of Maine) and Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington. For the employer, this would be a business expense. For the employee, it would be a tax-free reimbursement—an incentive to commute by bicycle. Participation in the program would be voluntary for both employers and employees. This bill could be considered by the full U.S. Senate during the next few weeks. Your phone call expressing support will be timely and important.
What you can do:
Call the D.C. offices of your state's two U.S. senators. Say that you want to encourage the senator to co-sponsor the Bicycle Commuters Benefits Act, S. 2635. Be sure to provide your name, address, and business affiliation. You can find the phone numbers for your state's two U.S. senators here. Your phone call will build momentum for this legislation that will help get more Americans riding bicycles more often.
This proposed federal legislation would give employers the option of reimbursing employees who commute by bicycle $40–$100 per month tax-free. Commuters who travel to work by bus, train, and carpools already benefit from this type of reimbursement program. The Bicycle Commuters Benefits Act would extend this transportation fringe benefit to bicycle commuters to allow them to recoup some of the costs of commuting, such as lights, bike maintenance, rain gear, panniers, locks, parking (locker rental), and changing facilities. The cost to the federal government (primarily the loss of federal tax dollars on the bicycle commuting reimbursement paid to employees) will not be significant. Meanwhile, the benefits to our economy and environment will be immediate. If enacted into law, this bill will inspire more Americans to ride bikes to work and encourage current bike commuters to continue. This legislation will:
- Save gasoline and reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil.
- Reduce road congestion and air pollution.
- Encourage healthy lifestyles by promoting active living.
- Boost bicycle and bike equipment sales.
This Senate bill follows a similar House bill (HR 807) introduced earlier by Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon. HR 807 already has 47 co-sponsors. To read what Senator Wyden said on the floor of the U.S. Senate when he introduced the bill, . Thanks for your help!