Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pedaling to a special interest

crowd with bicycles
Originally uploaded by bellyanz1
I just read a fascinating article in the New York Times. Apparently I am a special interest. Who knew?

After the bailout package failed last week Congress started sticking every molecule of pork they could find in it in the hopes of sweeting it enought to get the dozen or so votes they were missing. And they succeeded.

Turned out one of those sweeteners was the Bicycle Commuter Act which gives biking parity with car parking and transit. In other words, employers can give biking employees a reasonable monthly reimbursement and take it off their corporate takes.

Interesting part is the bill's sponsor, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, couldn't bring himself to vote for the bailout that contained it. Talk about bittersweet, huh? Blumenauer represents Portland, OR, the most bike-commuting city per capita in the US.

I don't know if this will effect my family. The university doesn't pay corporate taxes and they already subsidize my transit pass (if the weather turns stinky I can put the bike on a bus rack), and my wife's employer already pays their staff a reward for not driving to work (and thereby saving parking spaces for the customers).

But it's interesting to be part of a successful pressure group. Guess I'll sit around and look powerful

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