Written on the train, but I think I remembered all the points I wanted to make….
Dear Mr Baker,
Many people have welcomed yesterday’s £20m increase to the cycling budget, unfortunately as a cyclist I cannot. £20m is far too small an amount of money to make any difference across the country, I expect much of it will be spent on fees rather than actual infrastructure. It amounts to no more than scraps from the table, particularly when we consider that projects like the widening of the A21, a three mile stretch of road, is estimated to cost over £100m
But fear not there is a way you can help. The Guardian estimates the ‘Zombie roads’ projects to cost £20bn, if you persist with the building of the zombie roads you will likely suffer the same arguments and hatred that caused them to die the first time. But if you invest in cycling infrastructure you will be loved by millions of cyclists and your name will live forever in our memories in a way that it never has done for anyone who built a mere road. You will also still reap the rewards of a jobs and investment boost in the construction industry.
It is particularly timely because I’m sure I have read recently that the number of miles being driven has been falling these past few years but the number being ridden is increasing very quickly, so even with no investment in roads the congestion situation will naturally improve. If you can also transfer a lot of people to cycling through investment in the infrastructure you will see even greater improvements for motorists.
With all this in mind I urge you to use the autumn statement to become the first £1bn cycling budget transport minister.