Cape Town – Spending on road infrastructure in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup has risen sharply: metropolitan spend was only R1.3 billion in 2003/04, but nearly doubled to R2.5 billion last year and should grow to R2.8 billion in 2008/09, according to a report by the transport department to the joint budget committee of parliament.

Metro road maintenance spending rose from R776 million in 2003/04 to R1.3 billion in the current year and will reach R1.4 billion in 2009/10, according to the report tabled before the committee yesterday.

Spending on public transport in World Cup host cities is also set to rise sharply.

In Cape Town between last year and this financial year, the budget rose from R230 million to R424 million. Johannesburg spending on public transport and infrastructure rose by about R329 million to R661 million in the same period.

Mangaung (Bloemfontein) spent R25 million in 2007/08 and intends to spend R242 million this fiscal year. Tshwane had an infrastructure and systems budget of R105 million last year, but has R510 million for this year.

Mbombela’s spending increased from R55 million to R57 million, while the Nelson Mandela Metropole will raise spending from R132 million to R305 million.

Polokwane will spend about R48 million this year, after spending about R40 million last year. eThekwini (Durban) spent about R80 million last year, but intends spending more than R600 million this year.

Rustenburg will raise spending from R33 million to R70 million, although it has spent only R2.4 million so far this year.

The department of transport, under minister Jeff Radebe, reported that the rate of spending on city infrastructure had got off to a slow start this year.

Spending was as low as 2 percent of budget, or R4.5 million, at Tshwane. Cape Town had spent 15 percent, or R16 million, so far this year – the most of any host city – of a total budget of R424 million.

The department reported: “The slow takeoff was because most of the projects were at planning phase, while others had to realign their plans with the national public transport strategy.”

Technical assistance had been provided to Mbombela, Mangaung, Tshwane, Polokwane and Rustenburg.

The department of transport’s combined provincial and national budgets had risen from R17 billion in 2004/05 to R49 billion this year and were scheduled to rise to R50 billion in 2010/11.

Provincial transport budgets had risen from R18 billion in 2004/05 to R27 billion this fiscal year.

The national transport department budget had risen from R6.6 billion to R22 billion.