Australian Greens Transport spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has called for the establishment of a federal 'National Bike Paths Projects' program with a dedicated $80 million annual budget to provide Tasmanian local councils with substantial, sustained and targeted funding for bicycle infrastructure.
Background paper below.
Senator Rhiannon was joined at a press conference by the Greens' Anna Reynolds and Hobart City Councillor Bill Harvey on their bikes at the site of the proposed Sandy Bay Cycleway.
"The Australian Greens are proposing a dedicated fund be made available to local councils to build cycling infrastructure, based on the very successful Stimulus Package 'National Bike Paths' program we negotiated in 2009," Senator Rhiannon said.
"We are also urging Infrastructure Australia to approve the Tasmanian government's cycling and sustainable transport proposals put to Infrastructure Australia as part of the second round of the Nation Building Program.
"It's no longer appropriate that the Federal government thumb its nose at cycling, leaving the job to state and local governments.
"Cycling is not on the map of federal transport planners even though it gets us out of our cars, keeps us slimmer and fitter, reduces air pollution and cuts petrol bills.
"Boosting funding for cycling infrastructure will help take cars off the roads, increase safety, reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions and promote a healthier lifestyle for all.
The Greens' Anna Reynolds said, "Tasmania's cycle paths could be much better connected, better planned and less of an afterthought. If they were, they would breathe life into our city centres."
"As a cyclist, I know how daunting it can be to ride in traffic and be treated as a second-class road user.
"Providing safe routes to schools, shops and work will give Tasmanians the confidence and freedom to get on their bikes without having to do daily battle with cars and trucks.
"Many people are eager for a cycling renaissance. Tasmanians are thirsty for improved cycleway infrastructure. Cycling-based tourism is on the rise in Tasmania.
"The federal government must do more to lift bike riding out of the dark ages, by ensuring its transport spending is not dominated by cars.
Senator Rhiannon spoke today on regional road funding and sustainable funding at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hobart.