Tuesday’s ACT budget falls well short of what’s needed to get more Canberrans cycling in time to meet the government’s own targets for increased cycling numbers, says Pedal Power's Executive Officer, John Armstrong.
“We’ve been wading through the budget papers to find what’s allocated to cycling over the next four years. Top of the list is $2.5m for new walking & cycling infrastructure. Then comes footpath and cycling improvements at $2.333m. Then… well that’s all we could find,” said Armstrong.
Pedal Power commends the ACT Government for allocating $3.645m to the Healthy Weight Action Plan and is calling for some of this funding to go towards getting more Canberrans on their bikes.
"There is clearly no commitment to achieving the Government's own cycling mode share target of 6% by 2016," said Armstrong. "In fact, they appear to have abandoned it. This highlights the issue of one area of government setting targets and other areas funding and achieving them."
Pedal Power is pleased to see that funding will continue for the Ride or Walk to School program in which the organisation has been involved and applauds Treasurer Barr for allocating $2.5 billion in total for infrastructure over four years. However, far too little has been apportioned to cycling measures, particularly given the ACT Government's own Transport for Canberra target of 6% bicycle mode share (the percentage of commuter trips by bicycle) by 2016.
"The budget allocated $39.3 million to three road projects and $19.1 million to Calvary Hospital’s car park. While we appreciate roads need funding, spending such a small proportion of the infrastructure budget on cycling makes a joke of the cycling targets the government set itself,” said Mr Armstrong.
This week Pedal Power will co-host a forum featuring Timothy Papandreou, San Francisco’s Head of Transportation Strategic Planning and Policy, and a panel of leading Canberrans to highlight how we can use the San Francisco experience to coordinate and build a better ACT cycling environment.
“It’s sure to generate some innovative ideas – perhaps something the Chief Minister might be mindful of when appointing a sixth minister,” Mr Armstrong concluded.