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Westcycle, the new peak body for cycling in Western Australia, has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Transport, Mr Troy Buswell of a $20 million funding injection into Western Australia’s Bicycle Network.

The $20 million, spread over 2 years, will result in an additional $16 million for the Principal Share Path (PSP) network and an additional $4 million for metropolitan and regional bicycle network grants to local government.

“There are a number of missing links in our PSP network, so this funding will help to close some of those gaps,” said Westcycle CEO Clint Shaw.

The missing links that will be addressed are the Midland line PSP, from Bassendean to Midland, and the Fremantle line PSP, between Shenton Park and Loch Street.

“Between Bassendean and Midland riders currently have limited options. They must either use a mixture of local roads or poor quality paths. Completing this section will encourage more residents in the North Eastern suburbs to take up cycling as a viable transport option. It is going to be very well utilized,” Mr Shaw added.

Mr Shaw said the announcement indicates that the government is finally starting to recognise the broad benefits that cycling brings to the community.

“In addition to reducing congestion, cycling offers many other benefits to society. It reduces health costs, it’s affordable, it’s a zero emission transport mode and it also connects people to their community. Cycling is a smart investment that will provide the government with some real bang for their buck,” Mr Shaw said.

Mr Shaw is expecting further funding announcements for cycling from the Minister in the coming 12 months.

“We note that the 2013/14 funding allocation still falls short of the annual investment identified in the draft Western Australia Bicycle Network Plan. So we look forward to further funding announcements from the Minister in the lead up to the next election,” Mr Shaw said.

The draft Western Australia Bicycle Network Plan is open for comment until June 17.