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Washington state Legislature approves e-bike incentive program

Published April 27, 2023

By Paul Tolme

OLYMPIA, Wash. (BRAIN) — Washington state is poised to become the eighth state to approve rebates or incentives for purchasing e-bikes, an important tool to get more people out of cars and onto bicycles for climate, equity, and sustainability goals.

On Saturday, the Washington state Legislature approved a budget package that would appropriate up to $7 million in the next two years to support the purchase of e-bikes and create e-bike "lending libraries." The legislation is now headed to Gov. Jay Inslee's desk for his expected signature.

The incentive program would allow e-bike buyers to get a $300 point-of-sale rebate regardless of their income. Individuals with lower incomes could receive rebates of up to $1,200. Households with incomes at or below 80% of their county's median income would qualify for the higher rebate.

The proposed law would allot $5 million for these rebates. Purchases would have to be made at brick-and-mortar bike shops rather than online, and bike-related equipment could qualify for the rebates.

An additional $2 million would be used to create e-bike lending programs managed by municipalities, businesses, or nonprofits.

These e-bike incentives were a top policy priority for Washington Bikes, which has made the case that e-bikes are an affordable and equitable way to reduce climate pollution from transportation.

"This state investment in e-bike accessibility means that many more Washingtonians will have the opportunity to own or borrow an e-bike, whatever their income level," said Vicky Clarke, Washington Bikes policy director. "Electric bikes empower people to get around affordably, sustainably, and efficiently without a motor vehicle. These investments will reduce Washington state's climate pollution from transportation by enabling more people to hang up the car keys and pedal instead."

Washington state's e-bike incentives are modeled on successful programs in other states and municipalities, including Denver's popular point-of-sale rebate.

When signed into law, Washington will join California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont with statewide e-bike incentive programs, according to the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University. These statewide programs are among 142 proposed or active rebate and incentive programs offered by states, provinces, municipalities, electric utilities, nonprofits and businesses across North America, according to the center's electric bike incentive tracker.

In March, Democratic congressmen reintroduced the E-BIKE Act, renewing hope that Congress can pass federal tax credit for e-bike purchases. First introduced in 2021, this latest E-BIKE Act is similar.

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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