A new proposal would have Citi Bike riders rolling in tax benefits.
Sen. Chuck Schumer announced Tuesday a push to make the cost of Citi Bike and other bike share programs tax deductible for commuters.
Schumer will introduce the tax exclusion in an amendment to the Senate's tax bill, set to be debated on Thursday. If the bill passes as Schumer's office expects, workers with employer-provided Citi Bike memberships will be able to exclude $20 a month from their income for tax purposes.
Under the proposal, commuters could effectively get a discount on the $95 annual Citi Bike membership, even if the cost doubles.
The legislation would make bike share commuting costs eligible for the transportation fringe benefit in the Internal Revenue Code, which allows employers to composite workers for transportation costs on a tax-free basis.
Schumer said in a statement that it makes "no sense" that private bicycles, mass transit and other forms of transit are covered but bike shares are not.
"Bike share programs are an efficient, healthy and clean form of mass transportation, and they should be treated the same way under the tax code as we treat car and mass transit commuters," Schumer said.
A spokesperson for the NYC Bike Share commended Schumer for bringing forth the legislation in a statement.
"We have gotten scores of requests from businesses and individual employees who want to use the commuter benefits program to purchase Citi Bike memberships," the statement continued. "This legislation would make bike share an even more attractive option for commuters."
Schumer's office said the proposed tax break could be a "major boost" for the Citi Bike program, which isreportedlylosing money.
The bike share has about 100,000 annual members.
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