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Note to editors: the following is an excerpt from a Council speech delivered today, 29 May 2019, by Alderman Purchase during the tabling of the City of Cape Town’s Budget Council for the 2019/2020 financial year.

City’s Transport budget prioritises congestion, public transport and facilities

All Capetonians arrange their lives around traffic, be it the thousands of commuters who rely on public transport to get to work, the motorists who travel in private vehicles to their destinations or the businesses who need our road network to move their goods and services to grow our economy.

The budget I present to Council this morning addresses the Transport Directorate’s main priority namely, to improve transport across Cape Town so that all of us can spend less time and money on commuting.

Traffic and peak-hour congestion is an ever present factor we can hardly avoid. It has a direct impact on our quality of life. It determines how much time we spend commuting and most often we lose hours on congested roads when we could have been at home with our families.

It is also a fact that our inefficient transport system has the worst impact on low-income households who live far away from work opportunities. They spend the longest hours commuting and up to 43% of their monthly income is spent on transport costs alone.

Therefore, our immediate priority is to improve public transport across Cape Town.

Over the next three financial years we will be spending about R2, 9 billion rand on extending the footprint of MyCiTi bus service in the Metro South-east. This money is budgeted for the new roads and other infrastructure that are needed to establish MyCiTi routes between Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha and Claremont and Wynberg.

Up to R412, 4 million is set aside for this financial year alone.

Furthermore, thousands of Capetonians rely on minibus-taxis to commute. They often queue for hours in wind, sun, and rain. This coming financial year we will invest approximately R114, 8 million on building new public transport interchanges (PTIs) and to refurbish existing interchanges for commuters and the minibus-taxi operators. Construction of a new minibus-taxi facility is already under way in Dunoon, while the contractor for a new PTI in Somerset West will be appointed within the next five months. Plans are also under way for major refurbishments of the facilities in Retreat and Wynberg.

Traffic congestion remains one of our biggest challenges. To beat the traffic, we are building new roads and we are prioritising public transport, among other interventions.

Rail is the most efficient and cheapest mode of public transport in the world. I want to make it clear to all present today that we remain committed to taking over the rail function from the National Government so that the City can be in charge of the most important public transport service in Cape Town. We will not be deterred from our ultimate goal. Transport officials are working on a thorough business plan which will be presented to Council once completed.

In the meantime, we have partnered with PRASA and the Western Cape Government to establish the Rail Enforcement Unit to improve the safety and security of rail commuters and infrastructure. Once the rail service has stabilised, it will be more punctual and reliable and we will see more commuters shifting from road-based transport to rail. This will go a long way in reducing the number of vehicles on our road network and easing congestion in the peak-hour periods.

Our congestion management programme is well under way and has already delivered additional road capacity in Somerset West with the dualling of Broadway Boulevard (R44) from Beach Road to Main Road; in Bellville with the extension of Jip de Jager Drive from Van Riebeeckshof Road to Racecourse Road; in Blaauwberg with the dualling of Plattekloof Road from De Grendel Avenue to Gert van Rooyen Road; and in Kuils River with the extension of Amandel Road from Bottelary Road to River Bridge, to name but a few.

We will be spending an additional R165, 7 million in this financial year alone on new roads and links to relieve congestion in the worst affected areas. These include the dualling of Broadway Boulevard (R30 million); work on the Belhar Main Road (R35 million); the completion of the Kommetjie Road and Ou Kaapse Weg project (R24,9 million); Langverwacht Road (R23 million); and Sandown Road (R46 million). A further R22 million has been allocated to upgrade the north- and southbound lanes of the R44.

Finally, Cape Town’s road network comprises over 10 600 kilometres and every inch of it is managed by the Transport Directorate. Our road network is our biggest asset and must be maintained and looked after so that we can prolong its lifespan.

Thus, we have set aside over R173 million for the maintenance and reconstruction of the city’s roads for the 2019/20 financial year. The money is allocated for among others, the upgrading of concrete roads in Bonteheuwel, Uitsig, Bishop Lavis, Hanover Park, Heideveld, and Kalksteenfontein, as well as in Gugulethu.

Roadworks by its very nature cause traffic delays and unfortunately, this is the inconvenience we have to endure when protecting and preserving our assets and when providing new infrastructure.

I am thanking our residents for their patience and understanding while we are working at improving transport networks, roads and other infrastructure.

I also want to call on communities to work with us so that we can deliver these projects on time and with the urgency that is required.

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