Giving cycling a fair cut of the cake

Photo by Antonio Quagliata on Pexels.com

The 2020-21 ACT Budget was postponed and release early 2021. In general, the investment in active travel infrastructure in the ACT is not well documented. Canberra.bike examines previous budgets and compares them with Ireland.

20% of Ireland’s transport budget will go to walking and cycling.

“Following discussion and agreement at the National Cabinet today, and further unanimous support from the State and Territory Board of Treasurers, Governments around Australia are delaying their annual budgets until later in the financial year. Consistent with this national approach, the 2020/21 ACT Budget will be postponed.”

Andrew Barr, ACT Government, press release 20/3/2020, accessed 17/6/2020

Active travel capital investment since 2018

The active travel capital investments in the ACT for 2019 budget over four years (2018-2022) was $32 million ($8 million per annum). Breaking it down it looks like this: improvements to Belconnen Town Centre $10.4 million, Woden Town Centre $4.8 million, Tuggeranong $4.0 million, Flemington Road bike path $2.2 million, and Heysen Street Link $1.2 million. A further $1.2 million was invested in maps and signage, and $2.5 million for work improvements around schools. Additionally, path maintenance funding over four years (2018-2022) totalled $17.9 million.

Update 5 August 2021 Belconnen Bikeway Project Costs

Part 2C Capital Works, TCCS 2019-2020 Annual Report, p 255.

Building a better city – Active Travel – Belconnen bikeway
Revised pratical completion date: Sep 2018
Total expenditure: $250,000
Comment: likely design work

Part 2C Government Contracting, TCCS 2019-2020 Annual Report, p 268

Belconnen bikeway – superintendency
Contractor: Cardno Pty Ltd
Value: $197,162.40
Period 24/7/2019 to 1/7/2021

Belconnen bikeway – construction
Contractor: Cord Civi Pty Ltd
Value: $6,218,631.36
Period 9/9/2019 to 9/7/2021

Total project cost: $6,665,793.76

Heyson Street, Photo ACT Government
Heyson Street, Photo ACT Government

Republic of Ireland

After talking recently about the investment in cycle networks in Paris, it was good news to find the Republic of Ireland has followed.

“A former bike shop owner has secured a substantial financial settlement for active travel in the Republic of Ireland. For the next five years, cycling and walking schemes—including protected cycling networks and expanded sidewalks—will receive €360 million annually.

The settlement was secured by Eamon Ryan, leader of Ireland’s Green Party, a former co-owner of the Belfield Bike Shop in Dublin, and founding chairman of the city’s cycling advocacy campaign.

20% of Ireland’s transport budget will go to walking and cycling while two-thirds of the rest will go to public transit.”

Ireland’s Green Party Leader, A Former Bike Shop Owner, Secures ‘Astonishing’ Boost For Walking And Cycling, Carlton Reid, Forbes, 15 June 2020, accessed 17 June 2020.
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

ACT transport budget

In the last ACT Budget, $271 million was spent on transport. Using the 20% rule from the Republic of Ireland that would mean the active travel capital investments in the ACT should be $54.2 million per annum. From the last budget, we know the planned active travel capital investments is $8 million per annum. The 20% target would mean a 6 fold increase over the previous ACT Budget.

ACT Budget 2019-2020 YourSay accessed 17-6-2020
ACT Budget 2019-2020 YourSay accessed 17-6-2020

The Pedal Power ACT budget submission

Pedal Power ACT is the leading cycling organisation in the ACT outside of sports cycling. Every year it makes a submission to the ACT Budget. Last year was no exception. Their budget consultation for the 2020-21 Budget closed on 30 October 2019. Pedal Power ACT has been doing this thing for a while, so that their recommendations can be seen as a good reference.

Pedal Power ACT recommended the ACT Government should invest in active travel and related programs. In particular, it recommended increasing, over four years, maintenance to $53 million (previous ACT budget $17.9 million) and capital works of $110 million (previous ACT budget $32 million).

Comparison

Notice that using the “20% of transport” rule would mean the active travel capital investments in the ACT should be $54.2 million per annum, or $216.8 million over four years. In other words, Pedal Power ACT recommendation is about half of what the Republic of Ireland is planning.

COVID-19 has interrupted the budget cycle in 2020. We will eventually get one, and it will be much anticipated as it is also an election year.

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