Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Legislative Update: How About BETC for Bicyclists?

Turns out this session hasn't been very active on matters relating to bicycles. And they are gearing up to adjourn in the next couple of days. At least one detail pointed out our crazy allocation of resources for green transportation.

Yesterday, however, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1059 on Greenhouse Gas emissions 17 - 13. Nays: Atkinson, Boquist, Ferrioli, George, Girod, Kruse, Metsger, Morse, Nelson, Starr, Telfer, Whitsett, Winters. Now it's in the house. We'll have more on the bill after the session.

House Bill 3680, on the Business Energy Tax Credit, also passed both Houses and is headed to the Governor. A couple of days ago in an Oregonian piece, they noted that
Mesilla Valley Transportation, based in El Paso and Las Cruces, N.M., received 752 separate tax credits worth $4.5 million to outfit its truck fleet with the latest fuel-saving technology under Oregon's Business Energy Tax Credit program...
But according to the Oregonian's investigation,
the company's long-haul rigs are running less than 1 percent of their miles on Oregon roads.

Oregon bicyclists log almost 100% of their miles on Oregon roads. They exert almost zero wear on the roads and reduce maintenance costs, emit negligible greenhouse gases and stave off climate change, and efficiently transfer calories into motion better than almost any other transportation. By subsituting bike trips for car trips, bicyclists take cars off the roads, reduce congestion, and improve freight mobility. They free up auto parking spots. What's not to like?

If there's a compelling public good in subsidizing the development of green energy, there's even more reason to invest in bicycling - in so many ways investing in bicycling is a more efficient allocation of scarce resources! So how about some BETC for bikes!

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