NSW to double-up on bike budget

NSW Active Transport Minister Rob Stokes plans to double the spend on active transport.

In his first major announcement since taking on the portfolio, Mr Stokes told the Committee for Sydney's Sydney Summit conference on Monday that it's time to start rebalancing our infrastructure priorities.

"It's my view that we should see that investment more than double over the next few years."

"If we can find $23 billion to benefit 5.9 million registered vehicles in NSW, then we need to spend more than a fraction of this amount on the active mobility paths, shared paths, and cycleways that can benefit the 9.1 million pedestrians in NSW."

This comes after Premier Dominic Perrottet split the troubled road and transport portfolio into four sectors – transport, metropolitan roads, regional transport and roads, active transport – citing the need for more accountability of the state’s infrastructure pipeline.

The current spend plan sits at about $950 million over the next five years, which Mr Stokes said is no where near enough to support the record number of people who rediscovered the benefits of riding bikes throughout the pandemic.

A 2021 report from City of Sydney showed 20 per cent of respondents rode bikes regularly, up from 7 per cent in the last report from 2017. 

“This shift in thinking is reflected in the life-cycle of this government", said Mr Stokes.

"Years ago we were ripping up cycleways in Sydney’s CBD. Now we’re building new ones in Sydney’s CBD.”

A priority for the extra funding would be building a shared path linking Sydney's CBD to Parramatta, which Mr Stokes labelled as: "an ambitious and monumental task that won’t be realised overnight, but it’s exactly the type of infrastructure we must strive for.”

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