Posted June 04, 2021
This week we learned that the Hamilton LRT deal is even better than we hoped. The province is making it as easy as possible for City Council to take YES for an answer. Yet several councillors still aren’t sure if they want to accept it.
Another 500 LRT supporters have sent new personal statements to Council in the past couple of weeks. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to tell Council to support this incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity:
Here are some highlights:
1. A new survey of Hamiltonians commissioned by LIUNA found that 54% support LRT while only 34% oppose it. When respondents are presented with project details, support increases to 60%.
2. Metrolinx confirmed that gross operating and maintenance costs are only $20 million, not the $30 million suggested in 2019 when the Province prematurely cancelled the project. This is a lot lower than the City’s current gross operating cost of $33.5 million for buses on the four main routes serving the LRT corridor. The net operating cost for transit on the corridor is currently $18.2 million. With LRT, that net cost to the city should decrease by more than half!
3. The gross operating cost for LRT will be offset by increased revenue from growing ridership. Metrolinx expects transit ridership will double in the first decade with LRT, which means double the fare revenue. The city will be able to save the cost of 18 buses that currently serve the LRT corridor, which they can redeploy to improve service on other routes.
4. LRT construction will save the City $200 million of infrastructure renewal costs along the line - roads, sidewalks, water and sewer lines, plus the Longwood Road bridge, which the City would otherwise have to replace on its own dime.
5. The city will also collect tens of millions of dollars each year in additional property tax revenue from new transit-oriented developments around the LRT line. (Developing a vacant lot into a multi-floor building increases the city's property tax revenue by 10-20 times!)
6. City Councillors need to vote on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Province to move forward on the LRT project and accept the $3.4 billion in funding. If you haven't already, please take a few moments to tell Council why they should support LRT.
There is no real argument against LRT based on operating costs. Don’t let nervous councillors be swayed by bad-faith fearmongering and lose this incredible opportunity.