Posted September 26, 2011
September 26, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ryan McGreal
HAMILTONIANS CALL ON CITY, PROVINCE TO COMPLETE LIGHT RAIL
Hamilton, Ontario - A new citizens' campaign calls on City and Provincial leaders to stop playing games and recommit to Light Rail Transit (LRT) on the east-west B-Line.
After more than three years of active planning and design, suddenly the future of LRT is in doubt. Acting outside a Council mandate, Mayor Bob Bratina has publicly disparaged LRT, stating it is "not a priority" and indicating that it will only be under consideration "if somehow a million people move to Hamilton over the next five years". Instead, the Mayor has said that all-day GO Train service is the city's top priority.
Meanwhile, Premier Dalton McGuinty recently told the Hamilton 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."
The Mayor's office and the Province are both saying we need to wait for a "feasibility study" on LRT before committing to it, but Hamilton completed its feasibility study in 2008 and the Province completed its benefits case analysis in 2010. Both studies concluded that LRT will cost more to build but provides the greatest net economic, environmental, social and user benefits.
City staff have been carrying out the functional design and detail design of the system and received $3 million from the Province in 2009 to complete a class Environmental Assessment. The City Manager will present an update on the status of the project to Councillors on October 13.
The City says it won't commit to LRT without a firm funding commitment from the Province, while the Province says it won't commit to funding LRT without a firm commitment from the City that LRT is a top priority. These games need to stop.
In 2008, Council had the vision to direct staff to undertake "the functional design, detail design and construction of the B-line rapid transit corridor ... utilizing Light Rail Technology". Today, Council needs to take back control of LRT planning and make it a top priority again.
At the same time, the Province needs to state clearly that they will keep their promise to fund its construction through Metrolinx.
It's time for Hamiltonians to remind the City and the Province that we believe - as the City's and the Province's studies have confirmed - that LRT is the right decision.
This campaign asks Hamiltonians to visit Hamilton Light Rail and send a message to the City and the Province: it's time to finish the job of building LRT.
About Hamilton Light Rail
Hamilton has an historic opportunity to build a modern rapid transit system with the Ontario government paying the capital costs. Together we can make it happen!
Hamilton Light Rail is an independent group of citizens who believe that Hamilton needs an ambitious approach to economic development and urban revitalization based around high quality rapid transit. To that end, we are dedicated to promoting the goal of building a light rail transit (LRT) system in Hamilton.
This includes a campaign to educate Hamiltonians about the many benefits of light rail, provide evidence-based reports and resource materials, and build broad support across all sectors of the community: citizens' groups, neighbourhood associations, business groups, and trade associations.
Hamilton Light Rail is strictly volunteer-based and is not connected to the City of Hamilton or to any commercial interests. We're citizens who want Hamilton to enjoy the many benefits of light rail transit.