OLYMPIA, Wash. A Washington state representative who serves as a ranking Republican on the State Transportation Committee may be an unlikely proponent of a tax that would require everyone who buys a bike for more than $500 to pay a $25 fee.
His reason for supporting the tax, however, is raising some eyebrows in the Northwest biking community.
Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-Kalama) said in an email to bike shop owner Dale Carlson that, since CO2 is deemed a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.
Carlson owns Bike Tech in Tacoma and is one of many in the bike community who is putting up a fight against the proposal.
I emailed all of the representatives on the Transportation Committee asking them to reconsider this bicycle tax, Carlson said. I didn t want a reply. I just wanted to get my message across.
My first reaction was to chuckle, said Tom Fucoloro from Seattlebikeblog.com. I didn't know this was even an argument.
The statement also came as a shock to BikePortland.org s Jonathan Maus, because he says up until now, Orcutt has staunchly opposed increased taxes on transportation.
It s shocking that someone in his high-ranking position would respond this way to a constituent, Maus said. The statement is based on a general cultural bias that people have about bicycling.
In a statement regarding proposed gas tax increase in the 2013 transportation package Orcutt said, before we even entertain the idea of a gas tax increase, we want to talk about transportation and economic reforms.
KGW tried to reach Orcutt s office but did not get a response on the weekend.
The $25 bike fee in question was announced by House Democrats two weeks ago as part of an overall package that would raise a reported $9.8 billion over the next decade.