Statement by James Arlen
I have previously made public statements as part of the Hamilton Light Rail Initiative as well as in other public forums - my support of the Hamilton LRT has not wavered.
I find myself in absolute awe of the various politicians, but most especially Mr. Bratina, as they prevaricate on what has been said, what has been voted and what has been done on the LRT portfolio in Hamilton.
The province has committed both during election campaigns and during the normal course of business to support transit initiatives which will increase Ontario's productivity while managing the ecological impact of that productivity.
The city has completed not only the public consultations, but also the business case for investment, the environmental assessment and the 30% engineering plan for the B-Line (East West) LRT in Hamilton. (A significant proportion of this work was completed using funds from Metrolinx.)
Hamiltonians have come out strongly in favour of the investment in LRT. Regardless of what some councillors and election candidates have said, this remains true.
Hamilton, like most of Canada, has an aging population with a large demographic bubble of individuals who will require public transportation as they become infirm and are no longer able to drive or able to afford increased insurance premiums (elderly are 3x the insurance risk of teenagers). At the same time, Hamilton's youth are facing a future where vehicle ownership is less and less appealing as the costs for fuel and insurance skyrocket. We need public transit. We need GREAT public transit. And we have needed it for some time. The loudest voices protesting the investment of provincial money into LRT in Hamilton are the voices who will need it most in the coming years and the voices who are unwilling to offer support to youth.
Hamilton has more potential than is currently being realized. Many native Hamiltonians can be identified by their "Hamilton Sucks." attitude. There are a large (and increasing) number of Hamiltonian-by-choice people who have seen the potential of Hamilton and are bringing positive attitude, economic activity and new vision to Hamilton. My family are among this group. We are INTENTIONAL HAMILTONIANS - we have a deep love for our adopted city and a vested interest in its success.
Hamilton has been known as the Ambitious City.
Hamilton has languished under poor management and underfunding for too long.
It is time for the province to invest in Hamilton. It is time for Hamiltonians to invest in Hamilton. We have a brilliant future ahead of us.
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