AUGUSTA — Maine lawmakers are considering a bill that would add a 2 percent surcharge on retail bicycle sales to fund the construction of bikeways.

The Department of Transportation is holding a hearing today on the bill that would establish a “bikeway construction fund.”

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ralph Sarty of Denmark, says the money must be used to construct, improve and maintain bikeways in Maine.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine says a new tax would hurt bike shops and give Mainers added reason to buy their bicycles out of state or over the Internet. Executive Director Nancy Grant says bicycle owners already pay local and state taxes that go toward road improvements and that bicycles do minimal damage to roads compared to cars and trucks.

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