The City's LRT plan is ready for provincial funding. Tell the Province to keep its promise to fund LRT.
By Ryan McGreal
Published July 21, 2014
In 2007, the Provincial government promised to fund LRT in Hamilton, and the City began a six-year comprehensive planning and design process with unprecedented levels of public engagement. That process included engaging with thousands of Hamiltonians, which found overwhelming support for LRT.
B-Line LRT route map
The City's planning work was independently assessed by Metrolinx, the Provincial arms-length regional transit organization. Metrolinx completed a Benefits Case Analysis that found LRT would deliver the biggest overall net benefit.
Hamilton City Council completed its comprehensive Rapid Ready LRT plan in February 2013 and submitted it to the Province. Our LRT plan is on the Metrolinx list of Next Wave projects waiting for a funding commitment.
We are waiting for the Province to keep its promise of full capital funding.
Our intentions are clear. Rapid Ready is a comprehensive plan that specifies an LRT line running along the east-west corridor between McMaster University and Eastgate Square.
We have completed the Class Environmental Assessment, 30 percent engineering and detailed design and a complementary land use study for the route. We've done everything the Province asked us to do.
Support for LRT includes such leading municipal and community organizations as the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, the *Hamilton Spectator* editorial board, the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington, Clean Air Hamilton, the Downtown Hamilton BIA, the International Village BIA, various neighbourhood associations and community councils and the McMaster Students Union, as well as thousands of residents from across the city.
Rapid Transit Preference by Ward (Source: City of Hamilton)
In the recent election, the Liberal candidates for Hamilton Mountain and Hamilton East-Stoney Creek ran on anti-LRT campaigns. They both lost to candidates who explicitly support LRT.
This should send a clear message to the Liberal government that support for LRT is strong citywide.
Light Rail Transit (LRT) on the east-west B-Line is a tremendous, once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform Hamilton into a thriving, economically diverse centre. LRT on the B-Line has the best potential for success and will deliver the biggest overall net benefits to the city.
The B-Line has the ridership, the land use and the impressive uplift potential that are the hallmarks of highly successful LRT implementations.
B-Line LRT boardings per kilometre compared to other North American cities with LRT
Distribution of new taxable assessment without LRT and with LRT (Source: Canadian Urban Institute)
Our LRT plan represents $800 million in direct provincial investment in our economic sustainability, an investment that is proven to deliver a huge overall net return in greater economic activity, new transit-oriented development, greater mobility and improved quality of life.
We can't let fear, confusion and misinformation conspire to defeat this opportunity. If there was ever a time for Council and the Province to remember the evidence, trust their own history of support, uphold the courage of their convictions and fulfil their commitment to LRT, that time is now.
It is imperative that Council and the Province hear loud and clear from Hamiltonians that we know what we want and we expect our civic leaders - both Municipal and Provincial - to stay the course and deliver on their promise.
Please to go the Hamilton Light Rail website and add your name to our call to the Province and Council to keep their promise and build LRT on the B-Line. Add a short personal statement of support (please be positive and constructive) to help strengthen our message.
Hamilton Light Rail is an independent group of citizens who believe that Hamilton needs an ambitious approach to economic development and urban revitalization based around high quality rapid transit. To that end, we are dedicated to promoting the goal of building a light rail transit (LRT) system in Hamilton.
This includes a campaign to educate Hamiltonians about the many benefits of light rail, provide evidence-based reports and resource materials, and build broad support across all sectors of the community: citizens' groups, neighbourhood associations, business groups, and trade associations.
Hamilton Light Rail is strictly volunteer-based and is not affiliated with the Corporation of the City of Hamilton or with any commercial interests. We're citizens who want Hamilton to enjoy the many benefits of light rail transit.