Bike Commuter Act

Special Coverage: Bike Commuter Act

Welcome to my special coverage of Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s attempt to add a tax benefit for bike commuters to the U.S. tax code.


Blumenauer’s bike-related bills move forward in $1.5 trillion House transportation bill

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on July 3rd, 2020 at 11:12 am

The bill would change U.S. law so that transit agencies can more easily fund bikeshare systems.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

When we interviewed U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election he said, “If four years from now the places that can make the most advantage of transportation investments don’t get that help, that’s going to be not just a missed opportunity in terms of safety and economic benefits of transportation — it’s going to be a lost political opportunity as well.”

Yesterday, just four months before that four-year deadline, Rep. Blumenauer and his colleagues in the House of Representatives (led by fellow Oregon congressman Peter DeFazio) seized that political opportunity and successfully passed H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act.

The bill invests $1.5 trillion in infrastructure projects and programs including $500 billion for transportation-related needs. The League of American Bicyclists has heaped praise on the legislation, saying, “This bill is transformative – it’s the first bill to approach real reform in almost 30 years… and will move the country forward in building a safer, cleaner, more equitable transportation system that better meets the needs of everyone.”

Among the highlights are several of Blumenauer’s top priorities that he’s been pushing for years including a stronger tax benefit for people who ride a bicycle to work, a policy tweak that would allow transit agencies to invest in bikeshare systems, and funding for Vision Zero plans. Blumenauer introduced a total of nine bills that were included in the Moving Forward Act and five of them are related to transportation:
[Read more…]

Blumenauer legislation would bulk up and clear up bike commuter benefit

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on March 12th, 2009 at 12:52 pm

National Bike Summit - Day three-10

Rep. Earl Blumenauer at
a reception this morning
on Capitol Hill.
(Photo © J. Maus)

When the Bike Commuter Benefit Act passed back in October, it was somewhat of a shallow victory for advocates who had pushed for its passage for seven long years. Not only did it pass as a ploy to build support for the controversial financial bailout bill, the “benefit” it provides is small ($20 per month compared to $230 for parking a car and $120 a month for taking transit), and the implementation has been the source of massive confusion to HR people across the country. Worse yet, the Bike Commuter Benefit Act included language that required bike riding employees to choose between the bike benefit or the transit benefit.
[Read more…]

Blumenauer will work to improve bike commute tax benefit

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on January 27th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

OR Bike Summit - Ride-5.jpg

Getting paid to ride to
work isn’t that easy…yet.
(Photo © J. Maus)

I’ve gotten many emails over the past few weeks wondering why I haven’t covered the Bike Commute Tax Benefit that became law on January 1.

One reason is that I’m just not all that enthused about it; and it turns out I’m not the only one.

After 7 years of effort by advocates and bike-friendly politicians, the bike commuter benefit was ushered through as a way to curry favor and votes for passage of the controversial, $700 billion financial bailout package. To make matters worse, the benefit is only good for $20 per month (a pittance compared to the benefit for driving a car), you can’t get it if you also receive the transit benefit, and to add insult to injury, no one seems to be able to figure out exactly how to implement it.
[Read more…]

Everything you want to know about the new bike commuter tax provision

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 7th, 2008 at 9:13 pm


After news broke about the passage of the bike commuter tax provision in the recent financial bailout bill, many commenters had questions about how it would work.

To help answer those questions, the League of American Bicyclists has published a list of Frequently Asked Questions. I’ve pasted excerpts from each question below: [Read more…]

House passes bailout bill; bike commuter tax benefit becomes law

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 3rd, 2008 at 10:45 am

Blumenauer unveils Gas Price Relief Act-2.jpg

Blumenauer at the unveiling of his
Gas Price Relief Act, one of many
pieces of legislation that included
a bike commuter tax break
over the years.
(Photo: J. Maus)

What a long, strange trip it’s been for Congressman Earl Blumenauer and his Bike Commuter Act.

The House Democrat is a former City Commissioner of Transportation in Portland (1987-96) and he was at the helm during Portland’s Golden Age of biking — a time when we laid down much of our bikeway network infrastructure that is now the envy of many cities.

Blumenauer carried his commitment to biking into the halls of Congress and has worked the system relentlessly to pass bike-friendly legislation like the bike commuter tax benefit. Calling it a “matter of equity”, his idea is simple; give bike commuters the same respect and recognition in the tax code already given to folks that drive and take public transit.[Read more…]

UPDATED: Senate sweetens bailout bill with Bike Commuter Act

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 2nd, 2008 at 10:19 am

[See below for updates: Hint, Blumenauer is saying he won’t support the bailout package.]

“The (bailout) bill now includes a… tax benefit for bicycle commuting sought by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, also a “no” vote on Monday.”
— from an article in the Baltimore Sun

Hoping to garner votes from House members who previously voted “no” on the $700 billion financial bailout package, the U.S. Senate has added several sweeteners to the bill (now known as the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008”).

Among those enhancements (according to this article in the Baltimore Sun) is the Bike Commuter Act, a piece of legislation championed by Rep. Earl Blumenauer for many years. Blumenauer voted “no” on the bailout on Monday and the move by the Senate is being done in hopes to turn that into a “yes”. [Read more…]

Oregon House Rep. drafts bike commuter tax break legislation

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on October 1st, 2008 at 9:56 am

John Lim (R-Gresham)

This morning’s Gresham Outlook newspaper has a story about new legislation that has been drafted by Oregon State Rep. John Lim (R-Gresham) that would give a tax break to bike commuters.

According to the Outlook, the current draft language of the bill says,

“a taxpayer who rides a bicycle to work at least 10 days a month could receive a $15 tax credit per month that would be applied to their personal income tax. A business could claim up to a $5,000 corporate tax credit for installing bicycle racks and showers for their employees who commute by bicycle.”

[Read more…]

Will fourth time be the charm for Bike Commuter Act?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on September 17th, 2008 at 4:22 pm

“I think it’s the best chance the Bike Commuter Act has had so far in the Senate.”
— Katie Drennan, a legislative assistant for Congressman Earl Blumenauer

For the fourth time this session, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that includes a tax benefit people who ride their bikes to work.

The Bike Commuter Act has taken many forms and has been a part of several different pieces of legislation over the years. Amazingly, even though the legislation seeks only to offer the same benefits to those who bike to work as those who drive or take transit, it has been ridiculed (remember Patrick McHenry?) and has lacked support for being too expensive (that’s what Oregon Senator Gordon Smith thought in May 2006) among other things.
[Read more…]

National Bike Bill passes U.S. House vote

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on May 29th, 2008 at 10:30 am


Bike legislation is moving
forward in D.C.
(Photo © J. Maus)

House Congressional Resolution 305, also known as the National Bike Bill, has passed through a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week.

The resolution — which was introduced by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) back in February — recognizes the importance of bicycling to “enriching the nation’s health, reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, and improving America’s economic vitality and overall quality of life.”[Read more…]

Bike commute benefit, SUV tax loophole pass House vote

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on February 27th, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Now it’s onto the Senate. More on this story was published yesterday. Official press release from Blumenauer’s office is below:
[Read more…]