A bike lane rant and the 2014 operating budget

2014 public works budgetWR

The City of Vancouver has released the 2014 Operating Budget and it is a mammoth document weighing in at over 200 pages. You can read it here

I am going to ploughing my way through it in the next couple of days. There is also an information session and dialogue at City Hall on December 2 from 6:30-8:30 pm., that would aid in trying to understand this document and process.

A couple of quick points and then a little rant. 8 cents of all tax dollars spent by Canadians goes to local government. The total operating budget is $1.2 billion. From the Mayor’s website: “The 2014 Capital Plan will also see $72 million invested in better transportation, $19 million for parks and green space, and $17 million for new affordable housing.” Taxes will increase 1.9%, which is a modest increase. Considering all the strutting and bellicose rhetoric of Rob Ford about “ending the gravy train”, Toronto is projecting a 2.5% tax increase.

City survey of residents top Five issues:

1. Transportation: bike lanes, traffic, parking
2. Housing and homelessness
3. Garbage and clean streets
4. Social services: community centres, mental health, schools
5. Crime/criminal activity

Okay, here is the rant part. Public Works spends about 6% of the operating budget. That is roads, sewers and fixing blown water mains et cetera. 4% of the Public Works budget is spent on “active transportation” and 35% is spent on road maintenance and I am cool with this. I use Car2Go and Modo car sharing periodically, I ride my bike on the roads, ride on buses that use the road and even walk on sidewalks. So all the uproar about how much the city is spending on bike lanes seems contrived, over blown and politically motivated. The reality is the city is spending vast amount of its budget accommodating cars.

Dec. 2 Post Script

Post Script: The Math

The total Operating budget for the CoV is $1.2 billion.

Of this Public Works accounts for 6% of the budget or .06.

“Active Transportation” is allocated 4%,  0.06 X 0.04=0.0024 X 100 = 0.24%

Therefore Public Works cut of the total budget is $72 million and Active Transportation share is $2.88 million.

quod erat demonstrandum,


One Response to “A bike lane rant and the 2014 operating budget”

  1. doug says:

    The reality is the city is spending vast amount of its budget accommodating cars.

    Perhaps because the vast amount of our citizens use cars, and support that spending?

Leave a Response