Colorado Springs merchants charge you a one-time $4.00 tax when you purchase a bike in the City. Why? What does it do?
"The purpose of the tax is to provide funding for City bikeway improvements. The first priority of the revenue from this tax shall be constuction of off-street bicycle paths designated by the City Bicycle Plan. The second priority shall be other bikeway improvements recommended by the Bicycle Plan."
Article 8, Chapter 7, Code of the City of Colorado Springs, October 1, 1988
The City Bicycle Plan was updated in 1987. When it was taken to City Council for approval, they said 'Hey, these lines on the map look great, but how are we going to pay for it?" They directed City staff to figure out a way to pay for the bikeways in a way that fairly imposes the costs on those in the community who benefit from them.
The City formed a committee as it frequently does and called it the Bikeway Funding Committee with representatives from City departments (Planning , Parks and Recreation, Public Works and the Budget Office) and with representatives from the private sector (a developer, a bike shop owner, the Colorado Springs Cycling Club and a private planner.)
The committee quickly determined there was not enough money to complete the Bike Plan in a timely manner if it had to rely on yearly allotments from the City's annual budget.
There was feeling on Council that sements of the community receiving special benefits from bikeways should pay more of the costs.
The development community questioned the need for new bikeways: whether new growth was generating a need for bikeways and whether they were worth the cost.
They also had reservations about being required to set aside land for bike paths without reasonable assurances the paths world ever be constructed.
Since 1988, Colorado Springs has imposed a $4.00 tax on all new bicycles sold in the City.
It's been a successful program in that:
It obtains a user fee from bicyclists that's part of the overall funding program.
It generates about $85,000 annually for bicycle projects - which, when matched with other funds such as federal enhancement funds and TOPS funds, leverages outside funds to enable us to stretch our dollars to build a significant number of bikeway projects each year.
It's had broad community support and been a political winner. It allows cyclists to boast they contribute.
So why is that important to you as a cyclist?
It gets more on-street and off-street bikeways built.
It leverages other funds as a match, enabing our money to go farther.
It provides political credibility in that cyclists are helping pay their way.
Recent Bike Tax Projects.
Construction of the Rock Island Trail from Murray to Academy.
Uintah Street Bridge Bike Lanes
Rock Island Trail Acquisition between Murray and Powers
Construction of a segment of the Homestead Ranch Trail