PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Lawmakers are considering a bill that would incentivize Oregonians to purchase e-bikes.
House Bill 2571 would direct the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to establish a rebate program to return some money to people who purchase electric-assisted bicycles or cargo electric bicycles.
Rep. Dacia Grayber, D-Tigard, said the bill is meant to encourage Oregonians to choose a greener mode of transportation, and to help Oregon meet its goal of no longer selling gas-powered vehicles after 2035.
“At its core, it’s a very climate-friendly alternative to a vehicle. It’s a two-wheeled electric vehicle, if you will,” Grayber said.
The bill would allocate $6 million from Oregon’s general fund to start the program.
People who purchase electric-assisted bicycles would be eligible to receive up to $1,200 in rebates and cargo bike purchases would be eligible for a rebate of up to $1,700. It’s similar to the electric vehicle tax credit Oregon has in place.
The qualifying e-bike must cost at least $950 to be eligible for a rebate and Grayber said the bicycle must be purchased from a qualifying store in the state and must meet certain safety standards.
The rebate could also be used for e-bike safety equipment.
Lawmakers are currently discussing amendments to make sure the available funds are accessible to everyone. For example, Grayber said they’re considering a tiered system that would offer a general rebate tier, an income-qualified rebate tier, and a third tier for seniors or people with disabilities who purchase an e-bike.
The state is modeling the bill after a similar rebate program offered in Denver.
So far, Grayber said there have been more than 90 pieces of testimony submitted in support of the bill and there’s been bipartisan enthusiasm surrounding it.
“I think it’s the way of the future and I’m glad that we’re taking the step right now,” she said.
Grayber said she knows lawmakers need to tackle more important issues like housing, homelessness, addiction and mental health, but if the economic forecast shows a surplus of funding left in the budget, she hopes some of it will go toward this cause.