Special Report: Light Rail

Hamilton Deserves Fair Treatment on LRT Investment

Hamilton is being treated differently than every other Ontario city that is receiving transformational rapid transit investment, based on spurious numbers that have no clear provenance and conflate capital and gross operating budgets.

By Ryan McGreal
Published December 19, 2019

This past October 21, Metrolinx just awarded a $4.6 billion contract over 30 years to build, operate and maintain an 18 km, 19 station LRT system in Mississauga. Their LRT will be up and running in 2024.

In Hamilton, we're literally 3 months away from receiving the final bids from the consortia competing to win the contract, and the consortia are telling LIUNA they don't understand where the government got its latest inflated numbers from.

Yet our "open for business" Ontario Government just decided abruptly to cancel the bid process altogether, based on a 'third-party analysis' we're not allowed to see, created by an entity we're not allowed to know.

This is profoundly unfair. Hamilton is being treated differently than every other Ontario city that is receiving transformational rapid transit investment, based on spurious numbers that have no clear provenance and conflate capital and gross operating budgets.

Hamilton deserves fair treatment from the Ontario government. We deserve better than capricious, knee-jerk decisions delivered out of the blue in a bungling way with no stakeholder engagement.

If the numbers say the cost has gotten outrageously higher, show us how they were calculated. Let the private sector complete the bidding process (you know, the "open for business" part of being open for business).

If the estimated cost overruns turn out to be real, follow the existing Metrolinx mandate that has already been applied to other projects - including Mississauga - and identify ways find cost savings or to scale back the project to fit the budget. We could also try to engage the Federal government, which has already indicated they might be willing to partner with some capital funding on this.

Premier Ford, it's not too late to do the right thing for the people of Hamilton. Your government made a mistake here but you can still fix it. Don't sit back and let the people of Hamilton conclude that you think they deserve to be mistreated and short-changed.

All we're asking is that you treat us as fairly as you have treated Mississauga. Get this transformative investment in economic development back on track so Hamilton can really pull its weight in creating prosperity for Ontario.

Come on, Premier Ford, we're counting on you.


Editor's Note: Hamilton Light Rail has launched a new campaign calling on Hamiltonians to send Premier Ford a message calling in him to fix Minister Mulroney's mistake and get the Hamilton LRT back on track. Please join the call to action and make your voice heard.

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 wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.

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By bobby2 (registered) | Posted December 20, 2019 at 09:02:23

Hmmm, last Election, we elected 1-PC & 4-NDP. Is this really all that hard to figure out, "Where do I save Money to Reduce the Deficit?"

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