Blumenauer says Bike Commuter Act matter of equity

Congressman Earl Blumenauer introducing his Bike Commuter Act at the House Office Building. Members of the Oregon contingent in the background.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer reinvigorated his effort to bring equity to all modes of transportation by officially announcing his new Bike Commuter Act (H.R. 1498) at a press conference today at the House Office Building.

“Stop the discrimination against people who burn calories instead of fuel.”
-Earl Blumenauer

Blumenauer is leading what he called a “bike-partisan” effort to pass this bill. An identical version was just introduced on the Senate side by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.

The bill aims to balance the incentive structure by extending the Transportation Fringe Benefit (which currently includes a subsidy for parking and mass transit use) to include bicycling.

A statement from Blumenauer’s office says “excluding this highly preferred mode of transportation (cycling) is counterintuitive.”

The tax benefit outlined in the bill has an estimated total tax benefit of just $49 million over five years, which is a miniscule amount compared to the current benefit for parking ($4.5 billion) and mass transit ($380 million).

According to Blumenauer, he designed this bill to,

“Stop the discrimination against people who burn calories, not fuel.”

Blumenauer chats with Bike Gallery
owner Jay Graves and Alison Hill
from the Community Cycling Center.

He said he has fought for transportation equity on the Hill for years. He told a story about how they used to give unlimited free parking to members of Congress, but if you wanted to take transit you had to pay.

Blumenauer fought that policy and brought his concerns to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich,

“I finally tracked Newt down at the gym and made my pitch to him while we were on the treadmill.”

Blumenauer also said that he plans to integrate this bill into,

“broader conversations on climate change, energy policy, etc..”.

He then encouraged Summit attendees to promote this bill in their meetings with members of Congress today.

Click here to download the bill (243KB jpeg). [It’s a photographed version so I apologize (it’s better than nothing!).]

UPDATE: Here’s a fact sheet on this Bill from Earl Blumenauer’s office. (480KB PDF)

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