Cycling advocates today welcomed the funding set aside for cycling projects, while bemoaning its small proportion relative to overall transport funding.
Land Transport Plan projects, Roads of National Significance and increased rail spending attracted the lion’s share of today’s Transport appropriations, totalling $6.379 billion, but spending on cycling is growing: the first $45 million of a $100 million total has been set aside for the Government’s Urban Cycleway Programme.
The Urban Cycleway Programme is an NZTA-led scheme providing funding and oversight to local roading authorities for cycleway projects.
‘Funding for cycling, protected in today’s Budget, demonstrates a seismic shift – we’ve moved from excluding cyclists to welcoming them onto Kiwi roads’, said interim spokesperson Will Andrews of Cycling Advocates' Network (CAN). ‘We’ve a solid upturn in cycling numbers in New Zealand today, we have the Government providing real funding for the first time for cycling networks, and we have great support for leisure cycling’. But Andrews claimed that the $45 million appropriation for the Urban Cycleway Programme fails to adequately provide for both existing and expected new cyclists.
‘Over six billion dollars go to National Land Transport Plan, highway and rail projects in the Budget. Beside those figures, the Urban Cycleway Programme fund is miniscule. Cycling as a useful transport mode deserves a lot more than crumbs from the Transport table’, Andrews stated, concluding, ‘Recent research by Christchurch City Council found that investments in cycling facilities provided a benefit-cost ratio of 8 to 1, so cycling deserves a much more realistic slice of the pie’.
Will Andrews 021 02692724