By Ryan McGreal
Published January 24, 2013
I've written before about what leadership looks like when it comes to transformational transportation infrastructure, citing Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion's strong, principled advocacy for a fair, timely Light Rail Transit (LRT) funding commitment from the Province.
Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, frustrated with what she sees as preferential treatment for Toronto, is now demanding that Queen's Park - with its own political future in flux - pay for the entire $1.5 billion cost of the city's planned LRT.
McCallion told council Wednesday that she has advised both Minister of Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli and Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig that when the LRT running up the city's Hurontario St. spine is ready to proceed, the construction cost must be covered "100 percent by the province," as Toronto's new Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT will be.
Unfortunately, Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina seems perfectly happy to accept the Transportation Ministry's warning that Hamilton will have to bear some of the capital cost - despite the fact that the Province still refuses to provide any straight answers on what that share will be.
Mayor Bratina does seem to understand and agree with the conclusion of last year's McMaster Institute of Transportation and Logistics report that LRT success requires "strong political leadership" to come to fruition. Unfortunately, unlike Mississauga, Hamilton's "strong political leadership" on LRT will have to come from someone other than our political leader.