A bill that would provide rebates and vouchers to people who purchase e-bikes sailed through the DC Council on Tuesday, passing unanimously. The legislation would direct the District Department of Transportation to provide DC residents rebates of $750-$1,500 for the purchase of qualifying bikes, depending on the purchaser’s income, and there are other incentives as well:
• $1,000-2,000 for a qualifying cargo e-bike;
• $150-300 for replacement batteries (crappy e-bike batteries are a problem);
• $75-150 for locks;
• An annual maintenance allowance of $250 for “preferred applicants,” i.e, people whose income would allow them to qualify for other benefit programs like the Temporary Aid to Needy Families Program or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The bill reserves half of the available incentives for such applicants.
Retailers who reach agreements with DDOT will be able to provide the discount at the point of sale, and there will be grants available to hire and train bike-repair workers (aka “wrenches”) and to open businesses that sell or repair bikes in certain DC neighborhoods. You can get one bike rebate/voucher in your lifetime, but you can apply for component incentives once every four years.
The legislation will go for a second vote in September.