Financial assistance to buy e-bikes and to commute by bike have been included in the US Government’s Build Back Better (BBB) Bill, which was passed by the country’s lower house of parliament last month and includes a range of measures to address social services, welfare, infrastructure, climate change and the impact of COVID-19.
The $1.75 trillion (A$2.47 trillion) social spending Bill includes an estimated $4 billion (A$5.62 billion) investment in e-bike tax credits, an $81 (A$104) per month individual bike commuter benefit and a combined $7 billion (A$9.83 billion) for climate and equity-enhancing infrastructure grants.
People for Bikes, a US national pro-bicycle lobby group said it was “celebrating the E-BIKE Act making it this far in the legislative process after only being originally introduced in February of this year”.
“Its inclusion in the BBB is a testament to the growing power of e-bikes to replace short car trips and keep Americans moving with ease and efficiency — all without harmful carbon emissions,” according to an update on the People for Bikes website.
“As the broader Bill makes its way through the Senate, we’ll continue to fight for the fullest version of the E-BIKE Act to be included while working within the political reality.”
The E-BIKE Act has changed with each new version of the BBB.
Under the most recent version:
- a 30% refundable tax credit, up to $900 (A$1,265), would be available for qualifying new electric bicycles that cost less than $4,000 (A$5,624)
- it would be available to individuals earning less than $75,000 (A$104,970) annually ($112,500 (A$158,732) for heads of household and $150,000 (A$211,102) for married couples filing jointly)
- the credit begins to phase out above those income levels at a rate of $200 (A$276) per $1,000 (A$1,410) of additional income
- it would be available until December 31, 2025
The BBB’s bicycle commuter benefit mirrors the Bicycle Commuter Act of 2021, so commuters could receive $81/month (adjusted for inflation) as a pre-tax benefit for biking to work.
“This could be used in harmony with parking and transit benefits and would cover costs associated with bike share, micromobility and electric bicycles,” Bikes for People says.
“All up, employees could take advantage of nearly $1,000 (A$1,410) a year pre-tax for biking to work. “
The BBB also includes a 30% tax credit for businesses to install micromobility charging stations.
“Of course, because this is Congress, the political reality for moving the BBB through the Senate and onto President Biden’s desk remains shaky,” Bikes for People cautions.
“As a partisan Bill moving through the process known as reconciliation, passing the BBB requires all Democratic senators’ support, which remains unclear.”