All Statements of Support
Dermot Nolan says,
As a lifelong Hamiltonian who is proud of its past, passionate about its present and confident of its future - and as a downtown business owner whose business is located on King Street along the proposed LRT route and will be disrupted and who will be inconvenienced (as will my clients),by the LRT construction, I am unreservedly IN FAVOUR of the LRT project.
Having said that, there is one aspect of Hamilton's recent history that I am not proud of - its dithering when opportunity knocks.
This is a no-brainer. Please embrace it, make it the best you can make it and watch our city soar.
Edward Sernie says,
I am in support of the LRT proposal in Hamilton and urge you to support LRT -- to improve public transit in Hamilton and the GTA.
Kevin McNally says,
Good morning Mr Mayor and Councilors,
In light of the discussions regarding a referendum that have been going on in recent days and the upcoming meeting on October 25th, I feel compelled to write to you all again to re-iterate my support for the LRT project in Hamilton.
We have been debating the best type of transit upgrade for Hamilton for many years. Experts have weighed in and the Province has pledged funding.
There are certainly some unknowns, but as I suspect most of you are aware, unknowns are normal for large infrastructure projects like this and the unknowns in our case do not constitute a convincing argument to cancel the project.
Rather, I would expect that these unknowns would motivate a council (which has voted multiple times in favour of the project, as you all know) to step up, show leadership and work with the Project team to find answers and solutions which benefit Hamilton.
I find it counterproductive to fixate on unknowns (some of which are identified in the MOU with Metrolinx) and argue that because of the known unknowns, we should cancel the project. This does a disservice to Hamilton.
To return to the referendum, which admittedly looks increasingly less and less likely. A referendum at this point in the project will only serve to increase the misinformation and confusion in the public realm and will put the project on an unstable footing. When we are trying to execute a complicated and expensive project, we need clear messages from our council, not the specter of a referendum that would occur years into the implementation, be quite costly and likely not get enough voter turnout to actually drive a change. A referendum is a bad idea.
Lastly, regarding the changes that have occurred so that the line ends at the Queenston Circle. Again, rather then arguing that this constitutes a change that cannot be supported (which, incidentally implies that this change negates all of the other benefits from the LRT, an argument that current B-Line riders would no doubt disagree with) why not work with the Project team to find out where the budgets can be reduced and perhaps get the line back to Eastgate Square.
Thank you for your service and efforts to bring LRT to Hamilton. I am looking forward to the first ride!
Shelley McKay says,
LRT is vital for a vibrant, growing Hamilton. LRT has fostered revitalization in other cities. It's construction and completion will drive this City forward. I'm on board!
Sean Hurley says,
Hamilton is a city with high taxes and low incomes when compared with other Southern Ontario cities. Consequently, a larger proportion of income for many Hamiltonians goes to paying property taxes than in similar sized Ontario cities. On top of that, Hamilton faces a staggering infrastructure deficit of $195 million per year or $3.3 billion in total backlog for repairs to city owned infrastructure.
In a report headlined Hamilton: The unaffordable city, The Spectator reported that the backlog represents a 30 percent increase to property taxes. The long term debt, forecast to reach $885 million by 2019, represents $1,521 per resident in property taxes “just to upgrade aging water and sewer plants”.
"We don't have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem," Mayor Fred Eisenberger told The Spectator arguing property taxes alone can’t solve Hamilton’s infrastructure deficit.
Into this gloomy picture steps the Province of Ontario offering a substantial capital investment of $1 billion to build light rail transit (LRT) across the lower city. Included in the deal is almost $75 million in infrastructure improvements along the transit corridor including the replacement of ageing pipes and repaving the road surfaces. These are costs that would otherwise be borne by property taxpayers.
The Hamilton Community Foundation (HCF) in its 2015 Vital Signs report pointed out “Hamilton has the highest rate of workers in insecure employment with 57% of workers in this category.” LRT is forecast to produce 3,500 construction jobs directly in Hamilton and another 300 permanent jobs, directly in Hamilton, operating and maintaining LRT. That’s just the beginning. The redevelopment of the transit corridor with proper planning and zoning will spur investment and economic growth that will engender new employment and economic opportunities.
The potential for pedestrian traffic to and from LRT stations could completely transform the transit corridor creating new housing and retail opportunities. The transit developments taking place in Charlotte, NC, are an exciting indicator of the possibilities awaiting Hamilton: http://rebusinessonline.com/infill-transit-oriented-developments-are-driving-charlottes-retail-market/
Increased density and new commercial developments will further ease Mayor Eisenberg’s revenue problem by contributing to assessment growth without adding to the infrastructure deficit.
According the LRT Benefit and Cost Report, the transit project will contribute an increase of $443 million to Ontario’s GDP.
Hamilton could just invest in more buses, it is true. But HSR is paid for from the farebox and property taxes. What’s more, the old city of Hamilton pays a disproportionate share of the transit bill thanks to area ratings. The proposed $200 million bus barn, for example, would cost the property taxpayers of the old city of Hamilton, without any additional federal or provincial dollars, almost half the cost at $90 million.
It is not surprising, then, that pre-amalgamation city councillors are no more interested in increasing spending on transit than are pre-amalgamation suburban councillors. Without federal or provincial funds, or increases at the farebox, HSR improvements mean higher property taxes.
In short, the LRT investment reduces the infrastructure deficit, eases the revenue shortfall, increases employment, provides rapid transit without raising municipal taxes while sidestepping the thorny issue of area ratings, and grows the local economy.
For all of these reasons I am supporter of LRT. But not just those reasons. LRT means a reliable alternative for getting to work, cleaner air, friendlier and safer streets.
Those who oppose LRT may not be fully aware of it, but they arguing for higher property taxes for all the residents of Hamilton. And I would remind them that renters pay a disproportionate share of property taxes through their rent.
Thank you to the Councillors who continue to support this important project and for protecting our property tax dollars.
114 Kensington Ave North
Kathryn Newell says,
We elect our city Councillors to represent us. We elect them hoping that they keep our best interests in mind but also we expect good judgement on their decisions. I am disappointed when some of them are now exercising extreme resistance to a plan that has been in the works for 8 years. The LRT is not just beneficial for the downtown with better transit, it is also the beacon to improving a city that desperately needs a boost to its economy as well as keeping its reputation as the "Ambitious City". The economic runoff will bring a better life for us. I used to live downtown when it was great in the 70's. Now when I am there it is only to attend Hamilton Place. I probably won't be using the LRT but that doesn't mean I won't support it. I'm sure Toronto had growing pains when it decided to put in subway systems. Those didn't access all of the city at the beginning. I think the LRT is a great move our city needs to make. It's not going to access all of Hamilton but it is a good start, a billion dollars promised is better than none at all. Some other city will benefit from that if we don't seize the opportunity to become ambitious again.
Marnie Stout says,
Definitely in support of the LRT project, in spite of living in rural Hamilton. Certainly would be great to catch the train at McMaster and get to the East end of the city sans car....far faster than the bus, or car...no traffic or parking worries. Although many retailers are wailing about lost business revenue, I would suggest that they have a look at the Pearl District in Portland, or downtown Salt Lake, which has a ride free zone around the convention area. Buffalo NY has had the Metro Rail since 1984. Hop on hop off works well in European city centres, catering to tourists and locals alike. I would suggest Hamiltonians against LRT read Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs.
Greg King says,
Hey tell Donna Skelly to get her butt out of her car and maybe try public transit?
We need LRT. Buses will NOT cover the needs of a badly needed system. Especially mac students like myself who need to get to school on time and with an overcrowded bus a good many times that was very unlikely!!
Aaron Bieber says,
I recently have moved to Hamilton and this is the first of this project. It is very important that based on the recent and predicted growth of the city, that transportation and infrastructure grow and improve with it.
This project is huge for Hamilton and the city can only benefit from the decision to say yes.
Brandon Corbett says,
I moved to Hamilton from Rochester N.Y. to attend McMaster University ten years ago. I urge the city council not to make the same mistakes Rochester made by failing to invest in city infrastructure. Downtown Rochester is a ghost town because downtown businesses could not compete with newer ones in the suburbs. One prime example of this is the Midtown Mall (once a major Rochester attraction) which closed in 2008 due to lack of customers. In my opinion, the LRT is ESSENTIAL to keep downtown businesses viable (such as those in Jackson Square Mall). We need this Hamilton.
Bruce Appleby says,
Yes I agree with the LRT
Juan Bonilla says,
I lived ten years ago in Bogota, Colombia. I have seen first hand how bus rapid transit, while a decent solution at first, would quickly become too little, too late. After the Transmilenio solution quickly became obsolete, Bogota is now -FINALLY- considering a Subway or an LRT. HAMILTON HAS THE CHANCE NOW to make a future-ready decision. GO LRT!
David Blatch says,
I currently live in ward 8, bus service here isn't amazing, but it's enough for now. Living up the hill I always viewed a car as a requirement.
I lived in wards 1 and 2 before I owned a car. I regularly traveled around Hamilton.
Starting with the B-Line makes the most sense.
And having a train instead of bus improves the chances of transit being on time, of more people taking it, and it not being overcrowded.
I've lived here 9 years and have loved watching the whole city transform for the better. Don't stop now.
Joanne McCallum says,
The time has absolutely arrived to embrace LRC and move this City forward and work towards integrating public transit across the region. As a Hamiltonian who embraces sustainability and understands city building, LRT is essential. Across the entire age spectrum, many people are choosing to reduce their reliance on cars and are choosing car share and all forms of public transit as affordable and sustainable alternatives. This city needs to make the courageous decision to approve LRT that will facilitate growth, support urban residential and commercial density, creating a vibrant city to be enjoyed by all age groups, residents and visitors alike. LET'S MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!
Robert Connolly says,
It's time for Hamilton to join the ranks of modern cities with up-to-date public transportation.
Derek Podsiadly says,
LRT is an important part of keeping the momentum of growth and revitalization of Hamilton's downtown going. To let city council squander an opportunity to help make this a more livable city for the future would be extremely disappointing. There's such great potential in the downtown core, a strong sense of community and more and more people are noticing it. Not going forward with LRT would be a step backwards and certainly discourage young professionals like myself from committing to setting up roots in this city and investing my own money back into the community. LRT is a must if we'd like to develop this city's full potential as progressive and strong economic centre in Ontario. The future of every city will depend more than ever on a healthy downtown core. Without it Hamilton will struggle to attract new people and new investments.
Michael Majcher says,
This email has been addressed to my Ward 5 Councillor- Chad Collins.
Hello Mr Collins.
I am a ward 5 resident and would like it known that I am in favour of the LRT for this city, and I am not the only one in this ward who feels that way. Yet I only ever hear you speaking out against it. Why are you only representing those that are not in favour?
I really don't understand or see why you think the LRT would be more detrimental to Hamilton than it would be beneficial. Yes there will be challenges with this project...just like there are with every other construction project that goes on, but those projects aren't getting stopped because of challenges so why should this one? You plan it out with the best people. You rally to get everyone behind it, and we all do whatever we have to do to make it successful. Many other cities have done that. Why do you feel that Hamilton can't do an even better job of it now that we have all their learned lessons to draw on?
I also haven't heard any other alternate solutions presented that would help prepare this city for the long term in the way that LRT would, particularly when it comes to dealing with the mandated densification, or in terms of the economic benefit that could come from this if it's done right. When I hear people speaking against LRT it mostly boils down to people not wanting change. I get the human nature aspect of that, but that is in no way an acceptable reason to hold a city back. The future is coming whether we like it or not just as it always has. We can choose to either be prepared for it or stick our heads in the sand and hope for the best.
I'm not going to be able to drive forever, yet I'm still going to need to get around, as is everyone else who is ageing and moving into Hamilton. The city over the last number of years has done little on it's own to improve the bus system, so I don't know why I would think that all of a sudden now they'll make miraculous changes to improve things if LRT doesn't happen. And when you have outlying areas demanding better service, yet don't want to pay taxes to make it possible.....I just don't see the status quo as the solution. LRT will force the door open and put a red carpet out inviting the rest of the bus system to step it up.
I've gone out of my way to find out everything I can about LRT for Hamilton. I've learned a lot. From what I read and hear from others, they have not done the same. And I don't feel the city has done nearly a good enough job to sell the project. Yes, there are information/status sessions, but that's not the same as selling and educating people on the whole thing, both the pros and cons. That has led people to make inaccurate assumptions and draw conclusions based on false information. To hold a referendum under those circumstances is not fair to the citizens of this city. How can you ask the people to make such a big decision in that environment.That will do more harm than good to the city and it's people.
You are in a position of leadership, someone who is charged with getting us through the hear and now, but also to ensure we're ready for the future. Please show some vision (that's being handed to us on a silver platter this time), and be a city builder.
Bow Valley Drive
Smithb165 Smithb165 says,
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Paul Craig says,
Governments dithered for 25+ years over the Linc/Redhill....and look at the benefits now.Lets not do the same with LRT...build the darn thing..It will benefit the city for years to come.
Sarah Cellini says,
Support the LRT project: it is a City-enhancing project for the betterment of Hamilton's social, environmental and economic future.
Tim Amos says,
I'd just like to pass on my thoughts and support for the LRT project.
There are many naysayers who aren't even within the LRT area (*ahem* mountain councilors) and are trying to abolish a wise investment. This needs to happen. As a proud Hamiltonian, I can honestly say that I've seen the change in pace, culture, and overall well being of the city in the 5 years I've lived here. This investment would help boost our cities reputation. It would bring us closer to a more sustainable city and one which draws in MANY people from a younger generation. These are the ones who are environmentally conscious, who don't plan to have a car, and who want to live in an affordable city. What is now viewed as a proactive approach at $1billion, will most definitely turn into a reactive approach at the coast of $1.5 billion in a short time.
For those business owners who are worried along the construction corridor, I would suggest the city try to come up with a plan to help keep them afloat if/when business slows down. This is where the city does need to step in.
During construction, the foot traffic may dwindle slightly, but it may direct that traffic to other parts of the city like Kenilworth and Ottawa St which would help immensely to the local businesses.
Hubert Shen says,
I really like the LRT from Hamilton can be able to build at the end. As all the newer millennials, immigrants,people from all around GTA will potentially attracted to city of Hamilton. LRT is one important element to improve the city attractiveness and improve city transport for more people to consider to live in Hamilton. Just look at all the cities that has LRT, and see the improvement on access and city transportation efficiency for the public. It will be a significant improvement for accessing Hamilton from east to west end, with currently HSR routes. LRT will only make the transportation access in a much more improve way. Think long term, it will help Hamilton as a city to a next level for attracting younger people to come in and start their life in Hamilton.
Laura Stewart says,
I'm really excited to see our city plan for its future like this. I'm also excited to use my car much less!
Don Holland says,
Please do not squander this once in a generation opportunity. The councillors who are spreading misinformation must be taken to task. The city needs this if you wish to have a vibrant healthy city in the future.
Desirée Kelleher says,
To whom it may concern,
I am an employee at McMaster University. I am a parent. I am pleased to live in the ever-growing city of Hamilton. I have for many years, now. My husband has lived here for most of his life.
I only want to see this city become even greater and part of that greatness is the ability for its citizens to move around with dignity and ease.
Not everyone can operate a car for so very many reasons. Physical inability do so. Brain injury. Age.
Some, by choice.
No matter what the reason is to use public transport, a light rail running East to West in our city will improve the journey of many of us and those that will come after. Don't fear the growing pains of construction.
Be visionary and bring Hamilton forward with LRT.
Thank you for your time,
Chris Cotoi says,
I strongly believe the LRT will improve transportation in Hamilton and it will also have a positive impact on businesses along the route.
Ron Heres says,
Once Hamilton gets the LRT it will greatly transform the ability and lifestyle of its inhabitants . It will deliver the ability to get around town and enable people to expand their opportunities on many fronts . Less street traffic and more efficient travel will make this city a key proponent on the "Green " Front .
Clean city living is in demand and lays the groundwork for a city that balances its industrial roots with modern health and prosperity. Gone should be the days of unkept and unchecked pollution and now Hamilton can forge a new destiny of renewal and hope for many generations. I believe the "New" Hamilton will be one that makes this city proud and offers many a chance in the prosperity that follows.
Increased ability and efficiency is the engine that drives productivity . I'm proud that my Family has the chance to partake of the wonderful opportunity this will afford this great city. A great Thank You to the Govenrmental agencies that recognized the need and the foresight to implement and allocate the funds required . Hamilton says Thank You !
michael Maccharles says,
We must bring the city of Hamilton into the 21st. century as quickly and efficiently as is possible .. I have travelled the world quite extensively .. and European cities have for the most part far better people moving systems than we do.. whether they be LRT or old subway systems .. they move people.. millions of them daily.. IE : London ..Paris .. Boston ..NY Density is a must for a city to survive.. and Hamilton must get on with urban density and Transit.
Eric Kania says,
Even if I lived on the mountain or Flamborough I would still support this considering there is 1 billion being offered by the province for this project. It'd be incredibly inept for council not to take advantage of this offer. Benefits far outweigh the cons so long as the council focuses it's efforts on ensuring the project is managed and planned as best as possible rather than wasting time returning to decisions that have already been made...Multiple times.
Jane Cudmore says,
I am a ward 1 resident, and I fully support implementation of the proposed LRT plans while hoping the final plans will include additional stops.
I am disappointed and saddened to learn some councillors' apparent firm and ongoing opposition to LRT and I do not understand the basis for their opposition.
I believe the proposed LRT plans will benefit all of Hamilton, making our streets safer, more walkable, add to economic prosperity, and most of all, remove reliance on cars which is harmful to our environment.
I urge you to follow through on the commitments you have already made to supporting this project, and that you get on with the work that needs to be done rather than entertain debate in attempts to sabotage the project ultimately aiming to cause it to fail, which would represent an unacceptable mistrust and mismanagement of money paid by all taxpayers in Ontario.