Special Report: Light Rail

Clark to Present LRT Motion to Council

Councillor Clark will bring forward a motion at the October 28 Council meeting to call on the Province to commit to funding LRT in Hamilton.

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 27, 2011

this article has been updated

Councillor Brad Clark will bring forward a motion [PDF] at the September 28, 2011 Council meeting calling on City to "request confirmation on LRT commitment from the Province to fully fund Capital for two LRT lines and use of Gas Tax for operating costs".

Meanwhile, another motion on LRT by Councillor Jason Farr will be presented to the upcoming October 13 General Issues Committee (GIC) meeting. During that same meeting, City Manager Chris Murray will present an update on the status of the City's LRT planning to Councillors.

Farr's motion calls on Council to "re-affirm its position in support of pursuing a full investigation of LRT over time" and to request "a second phase of funding from Metrolinx" so "Hamilton can continue to prepare its case for LRT." The motion also affirms that "pursuit of all-day GO Transit service" is the City's "highest priority in the short term."

Clark's motion, on the other hand, points out that the Province promised Hamilton two LRT lines and that municipalities would not have to contribute capital costs toward the $17.5 billion MoveOntario 2020 plan. It notes that $9.5 billion has already been committed to the Sheppard LRT, Eglinton LRT, York VIVA, Scarborough LRT and Finch LRT without requiring capital contributions from the local municipalities.

Clark said last summer that he believes Hamilton needs to get confirmation from the Province that it will fund Hamilton's LRT before devoting more time and energy to LRT planning. This suggests his motion might put the City in an all-or-nothing situation in which a refusal by the Province to commit would result in the city's LRT plan shutting down entirely.

Farr's motion, in contrast, takes a go-slow approach that would keep the City's LRT plan alive but would not commit either the City or the Province to ensure its completion.

The best thing at this point would be for Clark and Farr to work together to find common ground on a shared motion that ensures the best hope of success for Hamilton's LRT bid.

In the meantime, please take a few moments to send a clear message to the City and the Province that LRT is a priority for Hamiltonians and that they need to work together to bring it to completion.

Here is Clark's motion in full:

MOTION

Council Date: September 28, 2011

MOVED BY ............COUNCILLOR B. CLARK........................

SECONDED BY ...................................................................

Request for Confirmation of LRT Commitment from the Province

Whereas on June 15, 2007, the Liberal Government announced "Move Ontario 2020" would develop $17.5 billion in 52 rapid transit projects;

And Whereas the Province promised that GTA municipalities would not contribute to Capital;

And Whereas Hamilton was included in "Move Ontario 2020" with two LRT projects;

And Whereas on September 12, 2007, Premier McGuinty and local Liberal candidates promised Hamilton two LRT lines and said that the Conservatives would cancel the projects;

And Whereas on April 1, 2009, the MTO announced $3 million in grant to establish two LRT lines, EA, plans, etc.;

And Whereas on May 17, 2010, Metrolinx presented to the Metro Board of Trade that the Sheppard LRT, Eglinton LRT, York VIVA, Scarborough LRT and Finch LRT worth $9.5 billion would proceed at no cost to the TTC or Toronto;

And Whereas Hamilton, like Toronto, does not have the capacity to contribute to LRT.

Therefore Be It Resolved:

That the City of Hamilton request confirmation on LRT commitment from the Province to fully fund Capital for two LRT lines and use of Gas Tax for operating costs.

Introduced as Notice of Motion at September 14, 2011 Council


Update: This article originally stated that the Council meeting is October 28, 2011. It is actually September 28. You can jump to the changed paragraph.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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[ - ]

By Clark is correct (anonymous) | Posted September 27, 2011 at 12:46:51

banned user deleted

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted September 27, 2011 at 15:13:10 in reply to Comment 70089

Sad but true perhaps. Unfortunately "forcing someone's hand" rarely gets you what you want... and Clark probably knows it.

At times it seems the Libs have been trying to give the city enough rope to hang themselves on this LRT project so they can walk away from the promised funding and put the blame on our "incompetent council."

You have to remember when this funding announcement was made all the economic oracles were predicting nothing but blue skies and increasing growth. Others knew better and stated so of course, but you can't go telling the truth these days and expect to be heard.

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By bob lee (anonymous) | Posted September 27, 2011 at 16:54:42

Farr's motion was supposed to be brought on September 13, right? I can't understand why Farr postponed it for the receipt of the staff report. The motion we need, three weeks ago, is for council to affirm their support.

Clark's motion reeks of his own political views. This is the same guy who tried to jump ship soon after being re-elected and ran for the federal cons. What's this about?: "Whereas on September 12, 2007, Premier McGuinty and local Liberal candidates promised Hamilton two LRT lines and said that the Conservatives would cancel the projects". This would be a valid point had the province ever even implied the funding was at stake.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 27, 2011 at 17:14:17 in reply to Comment 70102

This would be a valid point had the province ever even implied the funding was at stake.

That's precisely what the Liberals did in their 2007 re-election campaign:

In Hamilton, the Conservatives would put rapid transit projects through MoveOntario 2020 - including two light rail lines across Hamilton - at risk.

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By bob lee (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2011 at 10:33:18 in reply to Comment 70103

but hold on, the conservatives HAVE indicated the projects would be at risk. Hudak has been anything but supportive on transit and Metrolinx, instead all but promising the money to roads and the mid-pen.

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By LRTer (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2011 at 13:03:52

Clark is playing provincial election politics. What are his cronies doing to support LRT? Nothing. Can he get the Mayor to support LRT? Can he get his councillors to support it even if it will cost hundreds of millions. Let's be honest with people Brad.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 28, 2011 at 22:01:18

Councillor Clark's LRT motion passed at the city council meeting tonight.

For: Morelli, Merulla, Collins, Jackson, Duvall, Whitehead, Clark, Pearson, Johnson, Ferguson, Powers, Pasuta, Partridge

Against: Bratina, McHattie, Farr

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-09-28 22:03:55

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 28, 2011 at 22:32:56 in reply to Comment 70123

I missed that part of the meeting. Did council discuss what will happen next if the Province doesn't commit to fully funding LRT?

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 28, 2011 at 22:46:07

Most of the discussion focused on the timing of the motion. The councillors in favour of the motion posited that now is the best time to put the LRT request back on the front burner to attempt to get the provincial party leaders (more specifically Premier Dalton McGuinty) and the candidates to address the issue before the October 6th election date. Councillors McHattie and Farr expressed the view that this could be a risky strategy if the city gets a “no” answer prior to the election. Mayor Bratina wanted to wait until the report is done before the city takes a position on LRT. Although they did not say what they would do if the provincial answer is “no”, one was left with the impression that those who voted in favour of the motion will keep trying to move the LRT file forward.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-09-28 22:47:11

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 28, 2011 at 23:05:47 in reply to Comment 70126

McHattie has endorsed McMeekin. Maybe he doesn't want to embarrass him before the election by forcing the govt's hand.

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