Reinstatement of Bicycle Benefit Included in Build Back Better Act
Category: Public Policy
Commuters are set to receive additional benefits and incentives through the proposed Build Back Better Act (HR 5376). The massive people-focused legislation that is a cornerstone of the Biden Administration currently includes several sections of policy that will help improve the quality of life of people by easing the burden of their commute to work.
ACT is pleased to see the reinstatement and expansion of the employer provided fringe benefits for bicycle commuting, which was eliminated by the Trump Administration’s Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, included in the bill as currently written. Featured in Section 136406 of the legislation, the proposal aims to set the value of the bicycle benefit at 30% of the value of the qualified transportation fringe benefit, which grows to $280/month in 2022, meaning that the value of the new bicycle benefit would be roughly $84/month. Reinstatement of the benefit would be a significant win for TDM programs, providing a new, high valued tool to encourage the use of biking as a commute mode.
In addition to the reinstatement of the bicycle benefit, the legislation establishes a new credit for the purchase of electric bicycles, which have become wildly popular over the past few years by individuals wishing to bike to work but due to distance or geography had been unable to do so. The legislation proposes a 30% credit up to $750 value and modified by the adjusted gross income of the individual. Combining the e-bike incentive with the possible reinstatement of the bicycle benefit, could provide an impactful one-two punch for promoting cycling as an affordable and efficient commute mode.
This isn’t all though. The Build Back Better Act also provides for the development of two new incentive programs to support the use of public transit for essential workers. The Career Pathways through Health Profession Opportunity Grants program in Section 2071, calls for the provision of direct payments to subsidize public transit costs. In Section 2041, the Nursing Home Worker Training Grants allows for the use of funds to provide assistance where necessary with obtaining appropriate transportation, including public transportation if available, or transit vouchers for ride share, and similar types of transportation if public transportation is unavailable or impractical based on work hours or location.
Much could still change with the Build Back Better bill as it makes its way through Congress. If you and your organizations want to see these important programs remain in the final proposal, we encourage you to reach out to your Members of Congress and encourage them to support the language and passage of the legislation.
The Greater Madison MPO in Madison, Wisconsin, recently rebranded its TDM program to “RoundTrip,” pairing a fresh look with a new website and digital emergency ride home vouchers to increase awareness and participation.