Special Report: Light Rail

Statement by Mayor Fred Eisenberger on Hamilton's Light Rail Transit (LRT) project

This is a betrayal by the province to the City of Hamilton. This will not only hurt Hamilton's economy, but Ontario's economy.

By Fred Eisenberger
Published December 16, 2019

The Doug Ford government told us today the provincial government will be terminating Hamilton's Light Rail Transit (LRT) project effective immediately.

Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney and Metrolinx informed myself and City staff that the estimated cost of the LRT project have nearly doubled since they shared their recommitment and bench marking numbers. The true cost of the project would have been finalized when the request for proposals (RFPs) were delivered in March 2020. Estimates are estimates. Talking about numbers ahead of the RFP is malpractice.

LRT was a massive investment project for the City of Hamilton. It would have created hundreds of jobs, economic uplift, increased affordable housing, cut CO2 emissions drastically and built a City of Hamilton ready for the future. My thoughts are with the 40 individuals in the Hamilton LRT office impacted by this announcement.

I am extremely disappointed by the Minister's approach to informing the City of this announcement and for cancelling their scheduled media availability and briefing.

No other projects have been quashed. Although Mississauga and Toronto projects are more expensive than advertised, they are going ahead. This is a betrayal by the province to the City of Hamilton. This will not only hurt Hamilton's economy, but Ontario's economy.

The message to the world is that Ontario is an unreliable partner. Ontario is not a place where you can do business because of the Ford government. Ford's message to the world is take your business elsewhere.

While I am pleased the Ford government remains committed to giving Hamilton $1 billion in transit infrastructure, today's announcement rollout is a poor way to do business and an irrational way to create a positive partnership moving forward.

Fred Eisenberger is Mayor of the City of Hamilton.

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By GWW (registered) | Posted December 16, 2019 at 19:44:57

Can the Province explain why the Kitchener-Waterloo LRT was around $868 Million for 19 Kms of Line and how Hamilton's LRT line of less than 14 Kms has now ballooned to costs so much more per Kilometre? I realize a four or five year difference in potential start dates with inflation may explain some of the cost changes, but what explains the rest? K-W LRT was less than ten percent over on the original commitment. What explains the budgeting changes for Hamilton?

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted December 16, 2019 at 20:44:12

I'd guess that we have to expropriate more land, tons of underground infrastructure that needs to be modernized and moved as well as (maybe?) more LRT cars.

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