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Hamilton Chamber Of Commerce Resolution: Light Rail Transit Made in Hamilton

Hamilton should aim to build on Hamilton's existing manufacturing capacity, steel industry base and expertise in cargo rail manufacture as a location to manufacture new light rail systems for Ontario.

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Executive has passed a resolution "To recognize that Hamilton is the preferred location for the development of innovative, efficient and profitable research and development and manufacturing facilities for the next generation of light rail transit (LRT) vehicles in Canada".

Here is the text of the resolution.

Issue

Hamilton needs to aggressively position itself to develop and manufacture the new generation of light rail transit (LRT) vehicles and associated infrastructure. Hamilton's wealth of heavy and light manufacturing expertise makes it ideally suited to develop a green and recession-resistant "Made in Hamilton" LRT industry.

Background

The Province of Ontario is planning to spend up to $50 billion dollars on rapid transit infrastructure over the next 25 years. Much of this investment will be on building and maintaining hundreds of kilometres of new light rail transit (LRT) lines.

This will require construction and assembly of LRT vehicles, electric drive systems and controls, the manufacture of rails and construction of tracks, and the design and installation of advanced electronic traffic control systems.

Ontario is not alone: across North America over 30 cities have built LRT systems in the past ten years, and over 75 are actively considering LRT. This is an enormous potential market!

Hamilton itself is planning for two LRT lines, which should be among the first generation to be built. These lines should be built in Hamilton using the most competitive and advanced technology available (e.g. wireless systems using battery or fuel cells).

The goal is to create an innovative new local industry that leverages existing manufacturing strengths to supply the emerging multi-billion dollar world-wide LRT market.

Hamilton is in the unique position of having the local resources of McMaster University, Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology, the McMaster Innovation Park, and the National Research Council's CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory to provide the necessary research support.

This resolution would support the City's "Made in Hamilton" initiative, which "aims to build on Hamilton's existing manufacturing capacity, steel industry base and expertise in cargo rail manufacture." The City's Rapid transit team has already met with top international manufacturers Alstom, Siemens and Bombardier.

The governments of Ontario and Canada can support this initiative by making a competitive request for proposals on developing and manufacturing a new generation of LRT vehicles using the most advanced and innovative technology. These systems would be used for the new LRT lines being proposed the GTA, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa.

Recommendations

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce urges the Government of Ontario and Canada:

To recognize that Hamilton is the preferred location for the development of innovative, efficient and profitable research and development and manufacturing facilities for the next generation of light rail transit (LRT) vehicles in Canada given:

  1. The depth of its expertise and resources in both heavy manufacturing and steel production; and
  2. Its strategic location for the distribution of such products across Canada, the United States and around the world.

The Ontario government and its agency Metrolinx should therefore encourage bids from local consortiums for either innovative designs or proven technology.