Since E Bikes are orders of magnitude less expensive than other types of AFVs, government subsidies aimed at increasing E Bike mode share could achieve GHG reductions at a relatively modest cost. Moreover, such subsidies would likely be more useful to economically disadvantaged members of the public than those aimed at other, more expensive types of AFVs, while also providing increased health benefits as compared to other forms of AFVs.
This model law would establish a rebate program for the purchase of new or used E Bikes from participating dealers. Under the program, purchasers of E Bikes would receive a rebate from the State in an amount set by the legislature. As drafted, the bill would provide a different and more generous “enhanced rebate” for “Qualified Residents of the Commonwealth,” defined as those residents whose household income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
The program would be administered by the Department of Transportation (or other appropriate agency designated by the legislature). Among other duties, the Department would be directed to establish, by a specified date, an alternative incentive system for Qualified Residents of the Commonwealth, whereby a voucher could be presented at the time of purchase to reduce the cost of an E Bike, with the dealer being reimbursed by the Commonwealth in the amount of the voucher. This voucher structure would make the incentive program more accessible to low income households that may not have the funds upfront to purchase an electric bicycle, as would be required with the rebate incentive under the program. Incentive payments would be available for dealers participating in the voucher program. The Department also would be required to create a website to provide the public and E Bike dealers with information about the E Bike incentive program.
A nonreverting fund to be known as the “Electric Bicycle Rebate Program Fund” would be established in the Commonwealth Treasury to support the program, with percentage amounts earmarked for the payment of rebates, enhanced rebates/enhanced rebate vouchers and dealer voucher incentive payments.