Bicycle Network: Funding & Budgets
How to see what your Local Council plans to spend on bikes
Local Governments spend as much, if not more, on bicycle facilities as other levels of Government. This page describes how to follow the bicycle facility funding trail in your Council.
Council Budget Drafts due for release
Mar 08 In the coming weeks your Council will release a Draft Budget for public comment. This Draft Budget will usually be posted on the Council website. You can contact Council and ask them to send you the link or document.
The Draft Budget is a good opportunity to see which bicycle projects Council has in mind and how much money they are committing to bicycle projects.
This year we plan to publish again a review of Council funding of bicycle projects called BIXE. We will do this after the budgets have been finalised.
The budget process is outlined in the box opposite.
What to look for
Bicycle projects can be found in a number of different categories in a budget, including transport, sport and recreation, health and tourism. The type of facility involved will to some extent determine where the project appears. From a facilities point of view you are looking for projects such as:
- Bike lanes on roads
- Shared paths and trails.
Some councils commit a specified amount to bike facilities - clearly distinguishable as a single line-item in the budget. Other councils allocate their bike-relevant expenditure across different departments. You may need to sift through many sections of the Council budget to identify these elements. The location of the bicycle allocation may also reflect the organisational position of the officer with the main interest or responsibility for bicycle projects.
Where to look
The most common starting point for bike facilities funding in your council is:
This area will be looking for external funds from State agencies like VicRoads for works on roads that are 'owned' by VicRoads. These are usually busy, arterial roads. These projects won't show up in the Council budget.
They will also be looking for internal funding on 'their' roads which are usually non arterial roads.These projects may include or be for bicycle facilities.
One of the hidden gems in Council budgets is the annual list of road 'resheets'. Councils spend large sums of money every year to resurface or even rebuild their roads. The proposed road resheets will be listed in the Council Capital Works Program.
From the budget you can see which roads are up for a face lift. Amongst them may be a road or roads that could have a bike lane. We suggest that you contact the Council and ask them to put in a bike lane after the re sheet when they re-paint the road. This can be done for minimal extra cost.
Look also for kerb/drain works proposed by Council. These are often expensive projects. It is difficult to get the funds for kerb/drain-related work just to improve conditions for bikes. However if the works are being done anyway there is a chance to improve conditions for bikes. Opportunities include new drain grates, pram ramps improved or bluestones removed or reduced.
Open Spaces/Parks/Recreation Department
This area is typically involved with the off road path network. They will be looking for external funds from the State as above. Often this department will work in conjunction with the Transport department within Council but sometimes they run separately or in parallel.
This part of a Council's budget can be hard to interpret. Many projects may be relevant to bikes but not necessarily stated as such. You can review the capital works program proposed to see if the projects could be relevant to bikes. You may discover an opportunity to get a path or bridge improved or connected.