Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner calls for more bike commuting
Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner visited a Chelsea bike shop Monday morning to tout his proposal to expand tax breaks to New Yorkers who bike to work.
“Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have already recognized the advantages of biking and it’s time that the city offers them transit benefits as well,” Weiner said in a statement.
Weiner aims to increase bike commuting by 25 percent in the next four years–a task somewhat less daunting after the launch of the city’s bike share program, Citi Bike, in downtown Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. Already more than 30,000 residents are regularly commuting to work on bikes, according to a New York City Center for Economic Opportunity report released in April.
Ultimately, Weiner said the increase could be achieved through tax incentives.
Weiner’s “Keys to the City” proposal would offer an additional city tax credit of $120 for every eligible employee working for companies already participating in the federal bike benefit program. Biking employees would be reimbursed up to $30 a month before taxes and the city would foot up to $10 in biking costs, like maintenance and supplies.
Employers, for the part, would pay reduced payroll taxes for participating employees. Weiner’s hoping this will incentivize employers to participate in the federal bike benefit program, but he doesn’t see that as the only plus.
“We should also consider biking as more than just a monetary advantage for employees and businesses–it’s an investment in the future health of our citizens and our city’s environment,” Weiner said.
Given their shared post-scandal campaigns, Weiner’s press conference was overshadowed slightly by reporters hoping to ask about Eliot Spitzer’s recently-launched bid for city comptroller.
“I’m not paying a great deal of attention to the ins and outs of other races. I think everyone was surprised. But it hasn’t changed my life at all,” Weiner told reporters, according to multiple outlets.
“I think that campaigns based on ideas are the way to win,” Weiner said, referring to his bike proposal.
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