The City's LRT plan has $3.4 billion in federal & provincial funding. Show your support for the plan.

Counter the false "facts" about LRT

Posted June 17, 2016

An anti-LRT campaign has begun posting and emailing a "TRUE FACT SHEET" about the Hamilton Light Rail Transit (LRT) plan.

Unfortunately, the sheet is full of false, incorrect and misleading claims that will only help to confuse and misinform people who are still undecided about LRT.

If you have a chance to engage with someone who has received this misleading sheet, here are some real facts you can use in response.

  • The revenue sharing arrangement has not been finalized yet. It is one of the issues being negotiated under the Memorandum of Agreement between Metrolinx and the City.

  • The ownership and operation of the line still has to be negotiated between the City and Metrolinx. That will likely happen within the next several months.

  • Emergency vehicles will be able to use the LRT right-of-way, just as they do in other cities that have LRT systems.

  • The Province has clearly stated that Hamilton taxpayers will not be responsible if the project goes over budget. If necessary, the project will be scaled back to keep it in budget. However, Metrolinx has an excellent track record of staying in budget, e.g. the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, which is much larger and more complicated than Hamilton's system and is on time and on budget.

  • The overall construction time is expected to be 4-5 years, but the construction is likely to be staged so that each segment of the route is closed for a shorter period of time to minimize business disruption.

  • The construction period will be challenging for businesses, but the City and Metrolinx are already committed to working proactively with business owners to ensure they emerge successful from the construction period. In addition, a citizen campaign is already being organized to promote and support affected businesses during construction.

  • In Waterloo Region, a couple of businesses have closed during the construction phase but they were widely regarded as ready to close anyway. Meanwhile, at least 20 new businesses have already opened during the construction phase.

  • The underground infrastructure that will be replaced is very old and soon due for replacement anyway. If we turn down the LRT investment, the businesses will still have to go through the reconstruction phase, but without a rapid transit system at the end.

  • By having underground infrastructure replaced under the Provincial LRT budget, the City is saving tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure replacement capital spending, which it can distribute to other parts of the city that need road reconstruction.

  • All property purchases will be covered by Metrolinx under the LRT capital budget. Of around 260 identified properties, most are just a thin sliver of land next to the public ROW. The total cost will be nowhere near the made-up $500 million number.

  • There is absolutely no reason to think the new bridge over Highway 403 will cost anywhere near $1 billion, another made-up number. In any case, Metrolinx owns the project and is responsible for the budget.

  • The transit-only lane was only two kilometres long and ran for just over a year. It was actually quite successful by a variety of measures, and in two separate surveys, a clear majority of Hamiltonians supported keeping it and tweaking the design to make it work better.

  • LRT stops are spaced more widely than bus stops because that is proven to work more successfully in rapid transit systems. However, the location of stops has not yet been finalized, so Hamiltonians have an opportunity to recommend changes (e.g. adding a stop at International Village).

  • Current ridership is over 30,000 trips a day, which would put Hamilton's LRT right in the mid-range of successful LRT systems in North America on opening day. In any case, Metrolinx is responsible to cover the operational costs of the system.

  • The Edinburgh LRT system's ridership has already surpassed projections and the system enjoys 97% user satisfaction. The City is already planning to extend the line.

  • Hamilton's current LRT plan is just the first phase of a larger rapid transit network across Hamilton that will extend into Stoney Creek, south to the Airport and across the mountain.

  • Building LRT will free up city buses that can be used to increase transit service in other parts of the city.

  • Bus Rapid Transit is cheaper to build but more expensive to operate: each vehicle can carry fewer passengers, so more vehicles and drivers are needed. BRT also has a much lower maximum capacity. Ottawa, for example, built BRT (Transitway) instead of LRT and is now being forced to upgrade to LRT because their bus system is at capacity.

  • BRT is just as disruptive as LRT during construction, since the roadbed has to be rebuilt to accommodate the weight of a high volume of express articulated buses. It also runs in dedicated lanes, so it will disrupt vehicle traffic just as much as LRT - but with much lower economic uplift.

  • A referendum would not be binding unless over 50% of Hamiltonians participated. Municipal elections only draw around 32% of eligible voters.

If you want to learn more about Hamilton's LRT plan, you can find questions and detailed answers here:

If you have not already written to Council to express your support for the LRT plan, please do to:

Please share this with your friends and associate networks and over social media. We all need to get involved to counter these false, fear-based claims with good accurate information.


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