If we want to get the job done, how much is really enough? Comparing the active travel pledges from the major parties at the 2020 ACT Election with historic benchmarks.
The chart below shows the 2020 ACT Election pledges compared to benchmarks for active travel and the funds pledge by the major parties at the 2020 ACT Election.
The one single factor which has crippled the ACT cycling agenda is lack of funding. The Canberra Progressives have said that the transport budget should be split evenly between light rail/active travel, and roads. The amounts listed are totalled over four years (not per annum).
|Investment (millions)||Pledge 2016||Spent by 2020||2020 pledge||Comment|
|ACT Greens||$60||$30||$80||best offer|
|ACT Labor||$30||$20||too little|
|Canberra Liberals||$5||too little|
How big is a million?
Big numbers are tricky because they have very little meaning to us. Is a million big, and compared to what? We do better when we compare the party pledges with historic values and benchmarks. For example, knowing that building a separate bike path in Melbourne costs about a $1 million/km (including bridges and drainage) adds a little perspective.
It is also important to compare like with like. The ACT Budget documents are always for four years, so it makes sense to use this period as it is what we will most likely hear quoted (not the per annum figure).
For clarity, the capital investment in new paths is listed separately to the maintenance works for existing paths (maintenance).
|ACT 2019 budget||$32 – new|
$18 – maintenance
|Pedal Power ACT budget submission||$110 – new|
$53 – maintenance
|20% of the ACT transport budget||$54 – new and maintenance|
* In the 2019-2020 ACT Budget, $271 million was spent on transport.
Each source in the left column is detailed below.
ACT 2019 Budget
The active travel capital investments in the ACT for the 2019 budget was $32 million over four years (2018-2022). Breaking it down looks like this:
- improvements to Belconnen Town Centre $10.4 million (correction $6.7 million – see below)
- Woden Town Centre $4.8 million
- Tuggeranong $4.0 million
- Flemington Road bike path $2.2 million
- Heysen Street Link $1.2 million.
Path maintenance funding over four years (2018-2022) totalled $17.9 million. A further $1.2 million was invested in maps and signage and $2.5 million for work improvements around schools.
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
Period 24/7/2019 to 1/7/2021
Belconnen bikeway – construction
Contractor: Cord Civi Pty Ltd
Period 9/9/2019 to 9/7/2021
Total project cost: $6,665,793.76
Pedal Power ACT budget submission
Pedal Power ACT makes an ACT Budget submission every year. Their recommendations are a good reference. It recommended:
- increasing, over four years, maintenance to $53 million
- capital works of $110 million.
20% of ACT transport budget
The 20% rule is the European benchmark for active travel. The recent plans in the Republic of Ireland is an example of this.
In the 2019-2020 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 over four years. From the last budget, we know the planned active travel capital investments is $32 million over four years. The 20% target would mean the ACT active travel spend in the ACT should be approximately doubled.