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2007 National Bike Summit

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Bike Commuter Benefits Act to be re-introduced tomorrow

Posted by on March 14th, 2007 at 6:40 am

Opening Plenary at the Nat'l Bike Summit
Blumenauer at the
Summit opening.

Tomorrow morning, after a speech by Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar, Earl Blumenauer plans to re-introduce his Bike Commuter Benefits Act in a press conference on Capitol Hill.

Blumenauer just finished a speech at the opening of the National Bike Summit and he hinted at this news when he confidently said,

“With the congressional shift in Washington, It’s nice to be in a position where I can introduce legislation. The Bicycle Commuter Benefits Act will get a hearing and I think we can get it through this time.”

The Act has been around for years, but went nowhere in the old Congress.

I ran down Blumenauer’s staffer James Koski after his speech and he confirmed that the new bill will be passed out tomorrow.

This will give an added boost in enthusiasm to the hundreds of Summit attendees who will take a one-pager on the bill into their meetings with members of Congres.

Blumenauer was off to a meeting of streetcar experts where he will be joined by Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams, who I bumped into in the lobby a few minutes ago.

Opening Plenary at the Nat'l Bike Summit
Sam Adams and Blumenauer
staffer James Koski.

I’ll post more information on the bill tomorrow.

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Comments
  • Darren March 14, 2007 at 8:24 am

    Jonathan, With this moment by moment reporting of the Bike Summit you are adding a two-wheeled dimension to “March Madness”. Keep it going. We like it.

    Darren

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  • Martha March 14, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    I second that — your reporting is the next best thing to being there.

    I really hope the Bike Commuter Benefits Act gets passed. It galls me that co-workers who drive to work (downtown!)get to pay for their parking pre-tax, while those of us who bike to work have to pay taxes on our commuting costs. If anything, they should be paying MORE taxes to cover the cost of congestion, the cost of caring for my lungs that have been damaged by their tailpipe emissions, and the cost to repair and widen the roads…

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  • Cecil March 14, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    As I see it, there are two separate issues here. There is the issue of equity for those bike commuters who have to pay to park their bike or have to pay to shower & change after commuting. Those costs are just as “real” as the subsidized car parking or bus passes.

    There is a second issue however, which would be to establish some sort of financial incentive to bike commute for those people who are not incurring the above costs, because they have free storage and showering options available (or don’t need to shower/change). Perhaps a pre-tax set aside to pay for bicycle maintenance or safety gear (lights, helmets, reflector gloves and vests, etc.) would encourage more people to bike to work?

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  • Phil March 14, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    Blum. might want to revamp this webpage, since it still says he’s cosponsoring the bill with Mark Foley, who resigned in the wake of the real Congressional Page scandal. I doubt that’s still happening…

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  • Cecil March 14, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    “Blum. might want to revamp this webpage, since it still says he’s cosponsoring the bill with Mark Foley”

    Well, that would explain why they don’t want pages to have bikes. Apparently they can’t distinguish between pedals and pedophiles . . . :-)

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  • Dabby March 14, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Bicycle Commuter Benefits Acts will actually benefit so few, and in more reality, so few of those who need them truly, that I do not feel it is worth the valuable legislative time being put into it.
    The only act that should be enabled is one that would benefit all commuters and working cyclists, not just those working for financially well-off enough corporations.

    The majority of good intentioned cyclists in Portland alone will never benefit from such an act, as they would not be working for a corporation that would be able to offer such benefits.

    We need a call for incentives and tax breaks for the regular, everyday cyclist, that is in no manner based on who or what you work for, but simply on the fact that you ride to, and or for work, and leave one more earth damaging automobile at home….

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  • Jonathan Maus March 14, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    that’s a great question Dabby…and someone actually brought that up at the seminar where this topic came up.

    I’ll try to track down a good answer…but in a nutshell, the answer from the Cong. staffer was, “we haven’t looked into that yet.”

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  • Max March 16, 2007 at 1:23 am

    This sounds great and all, but I’m still waiting for my employer (a large corp. 22 miles away in Wilsonville) to allow me to purchase my bus pass pre-tax under the current law; much less get it for free; much less get any benefits for biking to work.

    I wish the existing law would be changed so that I could claim these deductions directly, rather than going through an employer who “may” allow you to take the benefit. AFAIK it’s only administrative overhead for my employer, yet they don’t allow us to take advantage of it.

    …and if my employer isn’t on board, what are the chances that McDonald’s employees have the opportunity to buy their bus passes pre-tax?

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