Legislation Would Let You Pay for Bike Commute with Pre-Tax Cash

By Katie Honan on July 22, 2014 7:49am 

 Rep. Joe Crowley proposed the legislation that he hopes could also help push Citi Bike to offer the bikes in Queens.
Rep. Joe Crowley proposed the legislation that he hopes could also help push Citi Bike to offer the bikes in Queens.
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Congressman Crowley's Office

JACKSON HEIGHTS — Your decision to hop on a bike may soon be a smart move for both your bottom lines.

Under legislation proposed Monday by a local congressman, the pre-tax value of your paycheck could be used to pay for your morning bike commute.

Rep. Joe Crowley announced the Bike to Work Act of 2014 that would let commuters use their pre-tax salaries on programs like Citi Bike — which a spokeswoman said "scores" of riders have asked for.

Many workers already have the option of using that money to pay for MetroCards and Long Island Rail Road passes.

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In order to include Citi Bike, the legislation calls for a change in the tax code to include bike-sharing programs in its list of public transportation options. Riders will then be able to pair it with other forms of transportation to maximize their commuting options, like riding a bike to a subway station, for example.

“Increased connectivity is fundamental to the growth and development of our city and it is imperative that we meet the needs of those communities that have long been underserved by transportation options,” Crowley said in Diversity Plaza.

“To do that, we need to ensure our city’s bike share program finally makes it to Queens.”

Citi Bike launched in May 2013 and is currently only available in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but lawmakers have said they hope the program rolls into Queens soon.

“Encouraging commuters to bike to work is a win for both the health of our environment and the health of our people,” said Assemblyman Francisco Moya, who joined the press conference along with other politicians, bike advocates and city officials. 

“More people biking to work means less stress on our public transportation system, less pollution, and better health for our commuters.”

The demand for Citi Bike's inclusion in a pre-tax commuting program is in high demand, according to a company spokeswoman.

"We have had scores of inquiries from customers and potential customers about whether they could apply their pre-tax commuter benefits towards Citi Bike membership," said Dani Simons of Citi Bike.

She said they support the legislation but couldn't say when their bike program would come to Queens, saying they are  “eager to expand the program but do not have a timeline yet” on when it could roll into the borough.

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