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Senate Vote: Bikeshare Commuter Benefit
UPDATED: An amendment offered by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York (pictured right) to make bikeshare membership eligible for federal commuter tax benefits, passed in the Senate Finance Committee today.
This is an important first step to recognizing bikeshare as a commuter option.
"Bike-sharing programs have quickly established themselves as a critical component of urban transportation -- providing an efficient, economical, and clean choice for commuting, connecting trips, and especially serving transit with that first-mile / last-mile option," said League President, Andy Clarke. "For that simple reason, bike sharing deserves the same treatment under the tax code as other modes of transport."
"Today's Senate vote is a simple, symbolic, and welcome recognition of this emerging new player in the urban transportation landscape," Clarke continued. "Thanks to Senator Schumer's leadership, tens of thousands of people in cities across the country who belong to bike share programs can look forward to being on an equal footing with people who drive and take transit."
Meltem Korkmazel, COO of Edenred Commuter Benefit Solutions, a national provider of comprehensive commuter benefit programs, agreed. "Edenred is thrilled that Senator Schumer has taken the lead to include bikesharing as a part of the bike benefit," Korkmazel said. "Across the nation, bikesharing is becoming part of an ever growing multimodal landscape that commuters are embracing in metro areas as a part of their mobility options. This is a low-cost, common sense solution that will provide commuters with a catalog of much-needed commuting options.”
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia co-sponsored the amendment.
So what would this amendment do?
- Last summer, the IRS ruled that costs associated with bike share memberships were not eligible under the commuter benefit statute as currently drafted — this amendment would change that.
- Specifically, it adds bike share costs to the list of recognized expenses eligible for the transportation fringe benefit.
- Like the Bike Commuter Benefit, for those who ride their own bike to work, employees using a bike share program to commute to work would now be eligible to receive $20 per month on a tax-free basis from their employer to subsidize their bike share membership.
Stay tuned for more!