More recurrent funding needed to maintain Canberra’s path network

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cracked path

Pedal Power ACT calls on the ACT Government to invest additional ongoing funds for improved maintenance of Canberra’s ageing and deteriorating path network.

“Last week the ACT Government announced its plan to build new cycle paths in town centres, including the Belconnen Bikeway, and a new separated path at Woden. We welcome the investment in new infrastructure and hope the 2018 budget also includes much needed resources to improve maintenance of the path network., said Pedal Power ACT CEO, Ian Ross.

 

“Canberrans are lucky to have an extensive network of more than 2800 kms of paths that is well loved and much used for cycling and walking. Unfortunately, this important community asset is rapidly ageing and in need of urgent attention.

“So many of our paths are cracked and crumbling. They are a hazard to people cycling and walking and discourage more people from taking up active travel as a way of getting around the city. In some cases, paths have become so degraded that the only option has been to rebuild them completely – a costly option that could be avoided through investment in ongoing maintenance.

“We estimate that the cost of properly maintaining our path network is around $12 million per annum, and the Government is currently allocating around $4 million. To deal with the backlog of repair work we recommend a capital injection of at least $3.5 million per year for the next four years, and a progressive increase in the annual spend until it reaches the $12 million required.

“It’s really quite hard to track how much is being spent because the budget for path maintenance is bundled together with road maintenance and other items. The path network is an important asset worth over $124 million and should have its own line item so the community can see where their money is being spent.

“The current approach to path maintenance is ad hoc, with a 2017 Auditor General report stating that 77 % of Canberra paths are not inspected regularly and recommending an ongoing maintenance program. To provide accountability, value for money and to avoid future cost blowouts, we need a robust inspection and maintenance program.

“We are pleased that the ACT Government is using revenue from tax payers to invest in active travel, with an additional $30 million over four years committed in the 2016 Parliamentary Agreement. But to create a sustainable future for our city we need to shift the spending balance away from roads and toward active travel infrastructure. This means both construction of new paths and looking after the paths we already have, said Mr Ross.

End media statement

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