The numbers have been crunched. The money allocated for cycling in the 2019 Victorian budget are even worse as a proportion of total transport infrastructure spend, than the 2018 budget.
In 2019 the transport infrastructure investment total (not including Victrack investment) was $46.9 billion.
Of this amount the proportion allocated was:
- Roads 68.9 per cent;
- public transport 28.6 per cent (including level crossing removal);
- road safety, boating, a new St Kilda pier, Carrum promenade revitalisation 2.3 per cent;
- and Cycling just 0.175 per cent.
In comparison, the 2018 budget:
According to the budget papers the Victorian Budget 2018/19 includes almost $4.3 billion for upgrading or new roads around the state which is 69.1 percent of transport infrastructure budget funding. The overhaul of Victoria’s public transport network will get $1.9 billion which is 30.5 percent of Transport infrastructure budget funding.
In comparison, and a long way behind, the active transport budget for cycling and walking is just 0.36 per cent of the total transport infrastructure budget.
New Transport Projects
For New Transport Projects, the new Cycling projects funding included:
New bike lanes on St Kilda Road $27.3 million;
Walking and cycling upgrades – Stage 2 (metropolitan various) $15 million.
Cycling amounted to just 0.18% of new transport funding of $23.165 billion.
The Better boating fund and free boat ramp launching and parking (statewide) received $39.6 million, roughly on par with new cycling funding. Go Fishing Victoria received $7 million in new transport funding. It seems the boating and fishing lobby has a better line to the government than cyclists.
St Kilda locals scored a new pier from the budget for $50.3 million.
Level Crossing Removal item of 75 by 2025 (Level Crossing Removal) (metropolitan various) funded for $6.55 billion. Level Crossing Removal has a substantial roads benefit. This is the only public transport new project, it amounts to 28.27% of new transport project funding.
The Coburg level Crossing removals is part of the $6.6 billion to plan and deliver an additional 25 level crossing removals across the rail network by 2025. Will commuter cyclists in Coburg get the elevated veloway infrastructure they need as part of this project?
The largest new transport project item is $15.8 billion for North East Link which is being put forward as completing the missing link between the Eastern Freeway and the M80 Ring Road. This project comes with substantial cost to parklands and vegetation, and having the effect of increasing car dependency and boosting long term vehicle congestion.
Bicycle Network commented with Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards highlighting that congestion will not be reduced if we keep prioritising cars over bikes.:
“It’s great to see money for the long-overdue upgrade to St Kilda Road, but for a transport focused budget it’s still well short of the mark for active transport.”
“The standard for transport budgets is $20 per person per year on bike riding and walking, but this has less than $2 per Victorian per year.”
“If we don’t start proper investment today, our children are destined for the same transport woes as today.”
Existing Transport Projects
As part of existing transport projects cycling is little better. These were the items listed in the budget:
- Walking and cycling upgrades – Stage 2 (statewide) $22.25 million;
- Box Hill to Ringwood Bikeway $14.1 million;
- Darebin Trail – Farm Link Road $3.2 million
Those who enjoy walking in Carrum can rejoice with the $50 million for the Carrum promenade revitalisation. This is more than is spent on the 3 existing stand alone cycling project items in the budget.
No funding for Upfield duplication or upgrade in Victrack investment
In addition to the Transport infrastructure budget, here is the list of items in the Victorian Rail Track (Victrack) budget. Unfortunately, there was absolutely nothing for the Upfield line to improve it’s current service reliability problems.
The Upfield line needs about 4km of track duplicated between Gowrie and Upfield Station, development of Upfield station from one to two platforms. We can’t get a reliable service until this work is done.
For increasing the service frequency on the Upfield line we will need both track duplication and the completion of Metro tunnel to provide increased city loop capacity. One without the other will not give us the increase in service frequency that increasingly we need during peak times.
Ideally to minimise disruption to passengers track duplication should happen concurrent to level crossing removal. But the state government has failed to put forward a project for this to happen. The Upfield path should also be extended as part of track duplication.
New rail projects amounted to $5.17 billion, and existing rail projects of $22.25 billion.
Full list of New rail Projects:
- Additional VLocity trains (regional various) – $340 million
- Ballarat Bus Interchange (Ballarat) – $5 million
- Better Train Services for Bendigo and Central Victoria (regional various) $49.6 million
- Car Parks for Commuters (statewide) – $150 million
- Cranbourne Line Duplication planning and development (metropolitan various) $750 million
- Digital Train Radio System critical service upgrades (metropolitan various) $83 million
- Hurstbridge Line Upgrade Stage 2 (metropolitan various) $530 million
- Public transport network safety and resilience (metropolitan various) $59.7 million
- New trains for Sunbury (metropolitan various) $2 billion
- New Trams (metropolitan various) $144 million
- Tram Automatic Vehicle Monitoring (AVM) System Replacement (metropolitan various) – $3.5 million
- Melbourne Airport Rail – $680 million (This funding represents the Commonwealth contribution to the project. The Government has made a substantial provision in the Victorian Transport Fund for this project. The project is in its planning phase.)
- Suburban Rail Loop – $250 million (Funding is for detailed planning and development activities)
- Western Rail Plan – $75 million (Funding is for detailed planning and development activities)
- Waurn Ponds Track Duplication – Stage 2 (regional various) – $2 million
Interesting to note the funding for various track duplication around the Melbourne suburban network.
It seems the northern suburbs has again been overlooked for upgrade of rail infrastructure.
A few comments from social media: