A new citizens' campaign asks Council and the Province to commit to finishing the job of building Light Rail Transit in Hamilton.
By RTH Staff
Published September 23, 2011
Light Rail Transit on the east-west B-Line is a tremendous, once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform Hamilton into a thriving, economically diverse centre.
It is time for Hamiltonians to call on City Council and the Province to commit to LRT and make it a top priority for completion in a timely fashion.
The City did a feasibility study in 2008 that recommended to build LRT, move quickly, and start with the east-west B-Line. In response, Council unanimously directed staff to proceed with "the functional design, detail design and construction of the B-line rapid transit corridor ... utilizing Light Rail Technology."
The Province recognized that rapid transit will transform the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The 2007 Liberal re-election campaign even promised "two light rail lines across Hamilton".
In 2010, a Benefits Case Analysis by Metrolinx concluded that LRT on the east-west B-Line would provide a much bigger overall benefit - economically, socially and environmentally - than bus rapid transit.
The Province even gave Hamilton $3 million to complete the required Environmental Assessment on the LRT line.
After three years of detailed design work, suddenly the Province and the Mayor's office are saying we need to complete a "feasibility study" on LRT before they can make any commitments. We already did this and concluded LRT is the right way to go.
Then, starting early this summer, the Mayor has made a series of disparaging public remarks about LRT. In late August, he said LRT "is not a priority" and would only make sense "if somehow a million people move to Hamilton over the next five years".
It is no longer clear how strongly the City supports LRT.
Meanwhile, Premier Dalton McGuinty recently told the Spectator that all-day GO train service "was the No. 1 ask of the city. We've had some important conversations with the mayor, and this is their priority, which made it our priority. Over time, we can enter into other discussions about things like the LRT."
It's time to move forward and finish this.
Council needs to take control of LRT planning and make it a priority again. The Province needs to indicate that they will keep their promise to fund its construction.
No more unilateral directives to suspend work. No more disparaging remarks in the media. No more insults against citizens who believe - as the City's and the Province's studies confirmed - that LRT is the right decision. No more games.
Now it's time for the City and the Province to finish the job of building LRT. Add your voice to the campaign so that our leaders get a clear message about how important LRT is to Hamiltonians.
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