Sanders, Welch support tax break for bicycling to work

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(Host) Congress is debating policies that can guide the nation out of an energy crunch.

Vermont lawmakers say a good start is to pedal to work.

VPR’s Evelyn Lombardo has the story from Capitol Hill.

(Lombardo) Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders sponsored a bill to give bicyclists a tax break. Two-wheeled commuters would be able to write off twenty dollars per month from their taxable income. The Senator drives to work, but he admits there’s a better way to travel.

(Sanders) "As we deal with global warming, the idea of giving people options other than the automobile is very, very good. I know in Vermont we are building a whole lot of bike paths. I strongly support bike transportation."

(Lombardo) Several dozen House members introduced a similar proposal. Vermont Democratic Congressman Peter Welch is a supporter.

(Welch) "What it does, if nothing else, is show in more than a symbolic way that we take seriously a healthy way to get to work and an alternative to cars."

(Lombardo) Such a push in Congress coincides with local initiatives in Vermont. Burlington recently launched several campaigns to encourage people not to travel by car. The League of American Bicyclists named the city a bicycle friendly community last year – the only one in the state.

But opponents, like GOP Congressman Patrick McHenry of North Carolina ridicule the idea.

(McHenry) "Stay tuned for the next big idea from the Democrats – improving fuel efficiency by the horse and buggy."

(Lombardo) Leaders from both chambers are negotiating whether to retain the bicycle tax break in an energy bill.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Evelyn Lombardo on Capitol Hill.


AP Photo/Toby Talbot

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