LRT is back on the table for Hamilton

Members of the province-appointed Hamilton Transportation Task Force (HTTF) have determined that the $1 billion in provincial funding allocated to city transit should still be spent on a Light Rail Transit (LRT) or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

This new push for ‘intra-city, high-order transit’ comes after Hamilton’s hotly anticipated LRT project had the plug pulled on it unceremoniously last December by Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney, who cited a massive increase of the project’s estimated budget to $5.5 billion as the reason for the speedy cancellation.

The HTTF’s recommendation made to Mulroney on Thursday already has the city responding enthusiastically to the LRT project’s potential return.

“We agree with the HTTF that the $1B in committed provincial funding must be dedicated to intra-city, higher-order transit that is ready to implement,” said Hamilton Chamber of Commerce in a statement.

“After thorough analysis, we’re sure that decision-makers will concur that Hamilton’s long-planned LRT will deliver the most substantial long-term economic benefits for our city.”

The LRT project’s cancellation late last year not only had Hamiltonians mourning the loss of a major investment in the city’s future, but also the loss of over 5,000 jobs for labourers set to work on the project.

Hamilton Chamber of Commerce also cites the pressing and potentially devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as all the more reason to get the LRT project rolling again.

“Because we have spent 10 years and $162 million in planning for LRT, there is only one plan ready to implement. And while we have many important issues to deal with at the moment, immediate stimulus for Hamilton and Ontario will soon be a necessity.”

Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney says that the task force’s recommendations will now go under a “technical review” by Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario.

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