Stan Bartlett compares the $4.09 million that the City of Victoria plans to spend on road renewal in 2022 with the $13 million cost of the city’s bike lane network. This is misleading for a number of reasons. While the $4 million for roads is an annual amount, the $13 million is being spent over several years, and it follows many decades where governments at all levels invested hundreds of millions of dollars on roads in Victoria while spending next to nothing on cycling infrastructure.
The other thing Mr. Bartlett fails to mention is that the $13 million cost for Victoria’s bike lanes was mostly funded, not from local property taxes, but from federal and provincial grant money that is specifically earmarked for cycling infrastructure and other green projects, and so cannot simply be spent on roads instead.
According to a study done for Metro Vancouver, an average five-kilometre commute by car costs society $2.83 (in addition to what the individual driver pays). For the same five-km commute made by bike, there is a net savings to government of $0.75 (due mostly to reduced health-care costs and reduced need to build expensive road infrastructure for cars). If Mr. Bartlett truly cared about taxpayers, you would think he would support building more cycling infrastructure, since it results in a net savings to the taxpayer.