Oregon (Yes, Oregon) Just Put a Tax on Bicycles

By Laura Bliss : citylab – excerpt


Cylcists crossing along bike path in the panhandle photo by zrants

The $15 fee on new bikes is a strange way for the state to prioritize active transit.

Oregon boasts the country’s top share of bike commuters, the first per-mile driving fee program, and some of the cleanest urban air quality. And with its newly passed transportation bill, this famously progressive playground will also be the first state with a bicycle tax.Oregon, which does not levy regular sales taxes, will require buyers of new, adult-sized bikes priced $200 and up to pay $15 in excise taxes starting in the fall. With annual administration costs pegged at a mere $100,000, the tax is expected to raise $1.2 million a year for the Oregon DOT’s Connect Oregon program, which helps fund projects serving multiple modes of transportation.

Legislators pushing the tax—an idea that’s swirled in Oregon, Washington, and other statehouses for years—“felt that bicycles ought to contribute to the system, bicycle owners ought to contribute to the system, irrespective of the fact that most of them also own a car,” Senator Lee Beyer, who helped write the bill, told Oregon Public Broadcasting in May… (more)