Mayor Wants to Subsidize Residents’ Bicycle Purchases

A bike lane and walkway in Bucharest, Romania (Photo by Tiia Monto)

The mayor of Bucharest, Romania, wants to help residents switch from four wheels to two.

Last week, Mayor Gabriela Firea floated the idea that local government could give the equivalent of about 110 euros ($123 U.S.) to a person wanting to purchase a bike, Romania Insider reports. The proposal is slated for further discussion by the Bucharest General Council.

Firea has also announced plans for a campaign to help educate drivers about cyclist safety and according to another Romania Insider story, the Bucharest City Hall is in the early stages of acquiring a feasibility study on the construction of more bike lanes.

“The 2016-2030 Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan provides the construction of 250 kilometers of bike lanes, with 12 priority projects of 60 km to be implemented in the short term,” the paper reports. “The estimated total value for the 250 km of bike lanes is EUR 50 million.”

Roughly 73 million euros were allocated for bike lane construction under the city’s Integrated Urban Development Plan (PIDU), according to the paper, and the project is eligible for EU funding.

As the World Bank reported last year, bike infrastructure is on the rise in the Romanian capital in part thanks to the sale of carbon credits to the country’s power companies:

Since 2013, power companies in Romania are required to buy rights to emit carbon dioxide — or European Union Allowances (EUAs), as they are called in the European Emission Trading System (EU ETS). They buy these ‘rights to pollute’ at EU ETS auctions at an ever rising cost since they are required to buy more allowances over time.

In 2013 and 2014, the country’s government collected about 260 million euros. It’s hoping to collect about 2 billion before 2020.