05 February, 2009

Shitty Cars?

I found this on the very excellent Social Biking Blog. (go look at it)

Here in NZ we don't have a car industry to bail out so the government has had to find another way to redirect tax spending away from people trying to do the right thing --- they've taken 'reliable' funding for walking, cycling and public transport and put it into state highways.

28 January 2009- Funding for public transport, walking and cycling projects is not guaranteed, Transport Minister Steven Joyce says, as the Government ramps up its investment in state highways.
The Press reported yesterday that the powerful Canterbury Regional Transport Committee had shifted $38 million of "reliable" regional funding from public transport, walking and cycling into state highways. The non-highway projects will now compete for funding in a nationally-contested pot.

Joyce said yesterday that the Government would roll back plans made under the previous government to spend 9 per cent less on state highway construction over the next three years.

Asked if funding for public transport, walking and cycling projects would be cut as state highway funding increased, Joyce said it was too early to say but later said the funding was not guaranteed.

This is the full article in The Press.

That 9 per cent reduction in highway construction spending (in addition to helping improve public transport and construct some cycling/walking paths) could have helped pay for a Bikes at Work tax break:

23 December 2008- Employees in the USA who regularly use their bicycles to get to and from work are now eligible for a $20-a-month, tax-free reimbursement from their employers for bicycle-related expenses. Employers will in turn be able to deduct the expense from their federal taxes.

The Bicycle Commuter Act was part of the larger set of Renewable Energy Tax Credit Initiatives included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, a.k.a. the "Wall Street Bailout Bill, signed into law by President Bush in early October 2008. Section 211 of the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008" allows for a "qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement" for "reasonable expenses incurred by the employee...for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee's residence and place of employment."

(More here.)

Wouldn't that be a nice idea?