The Victorian Government's weekend announcement of a $2.2 billion Suburban Roads Upgrade package includes some bike spend in the northern and south-eastern suburbs. However, we will have to wait to see if there are plans for truly transformational bike projects.
Released ahead of the full budget which will land this Tuesday, the Suburban Roads Upgrade package is said to be the "biggest investment in suburban roads in Victoria’s history" and aims to reduce congestion in the growth areas.
13 roads have been marked for improvement, and some of them include the development of roadside shared use paths, although exact details of where and how these paths will fit are still to be confirmed.
Some western suburbs arterial upgrades were also listed in government releases, but these were previously announced and are already underway.
Treasurer Tim Pallas also said on the weekend that the state government will spend more than $13 billion on infrastructure in the next 12 months, and that there is forecasting for annual infrastructure spend of at least $10 billion for the next four years.
With such a large amount available for infrastructure we hope that some forward-thinking bike dedicated projects get the nod.
But we wait with bated breath – at the moment it seems that provisions for bikes are only included in roads-for-cars projects, despite clear availability of funds.
With an election looming, tomorrow's budget will be interesting.
Will it include a state bike fund or a commitment to Ride2School, or will it be focussed on marginal seats? We hope that the Andrews Government recognise that one million Victorians ride a bike each week, and they vote.
Bicycle Network will investigate the planned shared paths as part of project and provide further information, but a summary is below.