Statement by Chris Bocz
This is a brief note, as a concerned citizen on Hamilton, to request that you vote to support the LRT. It will bring such clear benefits across the city, from Ward 1 to Ward 15, andachieve numerous social and development goals. LRT is clearly the most environmentally friendly alternative to bring rapid transit to the city and support the City’s targets on greenhouse gases.
I don’t understand why we are considering turning down an opportunity to develop our city center and free us from the current situation wherein we are continually faced to pay increasing levels of municipal taxes to support city infrastructure. Not only does the project give us a huge infusion of upfront investment – much of which will be used to upgrade infrastructure on the LRT corridor – but it will generate much needed development downtown that will more than offset the operating costs.
Our inner core is a wasteland of vacant lots and surface parking, in large part because it can only be accessed by car. The development of those areas that comes out of this program represents several tens of millions of dollars of lost tax revenue. For example, when 40 Bay St S and 150 Main St W were developed, they went from paying $56,000 to $900,000 a year in property taxes. Those are development fees and tax dollars that could absorb Hamilton’s next tax hike, instead of continuous increases to those in the outlying areas.
Many Hamiltonians in their twenties, still living with their parents in the suburbs, cannot afford cars, and need an efficient transit system to get downtown to work. Likewise, we have a large and growing population of seniors across the city, whose transportation options are too limited. How will we ever get rapid transit out to the suburbs without first bringing it out to McMaster?
The combined LRT/Bus/Go depot sounds like a great resource, especially to those who either can’t - or choose not to – drive. We’d love to be able to access downtown, the airport, the GO Station, and the amenities of the city without having to drive everywhere, but for this we need a fast, dedicated transit corridors that link the city with the outskirts. The B and A lines are already provincially funded - why are we giving this up so that that money can be spent in another city?
This is a one-time opportunity to do the right thing for Hamilton and for Dundas. Please support the rapid approval and staffing of the LRT Environmental Assessment on 19 April and use your influence in council to support this critical program.
Thanks for your consideration and support
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