This week has witnessed the official release of the ACT Government’s 2015-2016 Budget, and included is a major funding boost for the community.
Over $5.6 million (a record amount) will be invested into active transport initiatives aimed at improving cycling infrastructure, footpaths and ensuring better access to public transport as part of the ACT’s first Active Travel Plan. The plan aims to integrate cycling, walking and road infrastructure with public transport to enable Canberrans to travel more seamlessly. A further $1.2m is designated to design & feasibility studies – laying down the platform for essential construction into the future.
It is important to note that whilst the ACT Government has included in its $23m announcement last week, the Majura Parkway off-road path (previously committed funds) and new infrastructure attached to new suburbs (previously not attributed to cycling infrastructure) the funding still provides a significant level of improvement from previous years.
Pedal Power has been advocating for the inclusion of most projects featured in this budget. The major highlights for us are the development of an active travel plan, record funding for important cycling projects, a high level commitment from political leaders to integrate health and wellbeing with public transport, and further consideration and recognition of people who ride bikes as a means of transport.
The ACT Government’s 2015-2016 Budget demonstrates that Andrew Barr understands the connection between infrastructure, people who ride bikes and the community’s health and wellbeing. It represents the largest single-spend on cycling related projects the ACT has seen. There are significant projects that remain unresolved including the completion of Grevillia Park (near the hospice) – as part of the Lake Burley Griffin ride and no recognition of the infrastructure requirements identified in the Chief Health Officer’s Report that will be needed to provide safer travel at intersections in heavily urbanised areas.
We very much welcome the action the ACT Government is pledging towards assisting the community to become more active, and look forward to continuing to work with them in future initiatives.