Monday, December 6, 2010

Better Infrastructure - More Cycling

Will more investment in better infrastructure for cycling ,encourage more cycling. I  believe so  and the Australian and local governments need to do more ,but do we have enough tax dollars to go around.
You could argue yes due to the increasing cost of obesity, estimated to be now worth some 58 Billion dollars nationally. Does the saying " if you build it they will come" enough for many governments and councils to improve there cycling and walking infrastructure to lure money from other priorities like health and education.
The Fuel Excise Tax would be a good way to spread the Tax dollars around for transport infrastructure which is estimated at 15 Billion dollars annually, but many motoring groups like the NRMA believe that all that money should be spent on roads for motorized traffic.

Australia was one of the only countries along with Canada to reduce its fuel tax over the last ten years. A view taken by the then Liberal (conservative) Government which believes in lower taxes and small government.They also stopped automatic indexing of the fuel excise according to CPI. 
The Netherlands, second to Turkey (though you don't here about great cyclepaths in Turkey) has spent millions on great cycling infrastructure along with Germany, Denmark . Great Britain taxing nearly as much you wonder why they haven't invested in cycling infrastructure, though with the abolished Cycling England don't expect anything soon.
Raising fuel prices by tax is certainly not a popular one and when fuel prices hit $1.75 per litre here, there was an outcry to further reduce the fuel tax.
Last year as part of the Federal government stimulus package , $40 million was provided from the $650 million Jobs fund project. This was then matched by states ,territories and councils to make the total ,$80 million. This provided much needed infrastructure which should be continued as annual funding. Its a small amount by other country standards.
Maybe with increased funding we can get back to the days when cycling was seen as normal....

Canberra ,late 1940's

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