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March 26, 2003
Biking to Work Could Bring Tax Benefits for Workers
Bicycling would be a boost to your paycheck if cycling advocates have their way.

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A Congressman from Oregon is looking to extend the tax breaks afforded to workers who drive or take mass transit to work to those who commute by bicycle, the Associated Press reports.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) co-sponsored the Bike Commuter Act, which would extend the Transportation Fringe Benefit to cover bicyclists. Currently, employees can use the benefit offered by their employers for up to $180 for qualified parking and $100 for mass transit on a pretax basis, the AP reports.

"Why should we discriminate in terms of tax treatment for somebody who is not polluting the air, not causing traffic congestion and not taking away from our petroleum reserves?" says Blumenauer.

Budget officials tell the AP the measure would cost as much as $114 million in lost revenue per year. The annual cost of tax breaks for drivers and mass-transit commuters is $3.7 billion, according to the AP.

Advocates of bicycling say their mode of commuting is growing in popularity in the U.S., with nearly 1 million workers commuting on a regular basis by bicycle, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

While the Bike Commuter Act has failed to be passed in the previous years it was introduced, Blumenauer believes that momentum will help carry the bill through this time around. Blumenauer is the founder and chairman of the Congressional Bike Caucus, which has more than 100 members, the news agency notes.

"The momentum is building," he says. "And it's the right thing to do."



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