Dear Minister Steven Del Duca,
On May 25th, 2016 I requested a meeting with the Premier to discuss the growing discourse in the Hamilton community regarding LRT. I certainly appreciate the government’s commitment towards implementing rapid transit in the City of Hamilton and the commitment to improving transit for all. I also want to make clear that I am grateful for the promise of an investment in the City of Hamilton of over a billion dollars and your overall progressive agenda on this file.
There are a number of questions that I wish to gain clarity on. I believe that my council colleagues and the residents of Hamilton are entitled to this information. Your response to these questions will be helpful in moving the city forward to address the significant challenge we currently face in our community. Can you please respond to the following questions:
1.) In October 4th, 2016’s Hamilton Spectator, Liberal M.P.P. Ted McMeekin, implied that the $1 billion amount earmarked for the City of Hamilton’s transit needs was tied directly on it being used for an LRT line through downtown Hamilton. This is in contradiction to what Premier Wynne told CBC Hamilton on May 25th, 2016 when she stated “It’s never been LRT or nothing. I really want to hear what council’s decision is. I really want to put this to bed.”
Does the City of Hamilton have to use the promised $1 billion for this LRT line or can it use the money for what council deems proper for the city’s transit needs?
2.) The above Hamilton Spectator story also implied that any deviation from this line will cause the City of Hamilton to forfeit the allocated money and “go back to the end of the line” for transit. Is the province willing to not fund the transit needs of one of the largest cities in the province because it chooses a different route/mode that it feels will serve its citizens better?
3.) What is considered a “deviation”? If the route is changed on the current proposal is that a “deviation” that will need a whole new process started? What happens if the city decides that it wants only LRT from McMaster to downtown and the rest of the money for rapid bus throughout the city, for example?
4.) Understanding the province’s procurement system, in that once a contract is signed, any amount over budget will be the Consortium’s responsibility, what happens if before an RFP goes out the cost to the current proposal is over the $1 billion promised? Will the route/mode change or will the City be expected to contribute money to the project?
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.
Councillor Ward 8