A proposed $8 billion transportation spending package in Oregon could include a tax on the sale of bicycles. It’s a funding idea that’s often talked about but has rarely been implemented nationwide. …
The bike tax is still being debated at the state capitol, but the current proposal would tack on anywhere from three to five percent to the cost of a new bike. Under the current version of the plan, the tax would only apply to adult bikes that cost more than $500. …
Democratic Senator Lee Beyer helped craft the bike tax proposal. He says it came in response to a common refrain among lawmakers and the public.
“They 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,” he said.
As for the cost, Beyer says the tax needs to be large enough to generate significant revenue above the cost of collecting it. But he says the fact that it’s in there at all means bike riders are now among the state’s transportation priorities.
“There’s a pretty big commitment to bicycle commuters in the [bill], and to the extent we do that, there are certain environmental advantages to do that, and it does address congestion to some extent as well.”
If it passes, Oregon would be the only state with a statewide tax specifically for bicycles, though it’s been proposed in many places. Some cities around the country do charge bicycle owners a registration fee.