By Ryan McGreal
Published April 02, 2009
The Ontario Government has just announced $3 million in rapid transit funding so that Hamilton can conduct class environmental assessments, route design and public consultation for its proposed B-Line and A-Line rapid transit lines.
The provincial announcement of the funding states that this planning study is set to be completed by Spring 2010.
According to city rapid transit staff, this provincial funding announcement will not accelerate the overall time line to build the two rapid transit lines.
Metrolinx, the provincial body coordinating rapid transit in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton (GTAH), is currently conducting a full benefits analysis on the B-Line to determine whether the city will receive funding for light rail transit (LRT) or bus rapid transit (BRT).
That study should be completed and presented to the Metrolinx Board this summer.
Based on the general criteria that Metrolinx has articulated for rapid transit projects, a full benefits analysis - which includes impacts on communities, economic development, and the environment as well as a straight business case - would seem to favour light rail transit as the superior option.
LRT has higher capital costs but significantly lower per-passenger operating costs. In addition to producing no emissions at the tailpipe, it is quieter and smoother than buses. It has also been shown to attract many more new riders and to generate far more transit-oriented private investment than BRT. Properties close to an LRT line generally increase significantly in value.
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