Several news outlets are reporting that Premier Wynne has told Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger that the province will pay the full capital cost of the proposed Hamilton LRT project. This is great news for Hamilton. For years Council and City staff have been looking at options for moving people through this vast region. With the upcoming introduction of All Day GO service and the future electrification of the Lakeshore GO Line it is going to become easier and easier to get around this region without using a car.
This statement confirms what I have long said: The Transit Only Lane vote (TOL) was not a referendum on LRT. Ending this planned 1 year pilot project had no effect on future transit funding from Metrolinx. What the TOL report did give us was very useful data that we can now use to come up with a full master transportation plan.
The devil however is in the details. When will the city receive the funding? What prerequisite work needs to be done prior to moving forward? How are we going to get people from the B-Line to the new GO station?
Earlier this afternoon when asked about transit funding for Hamilton the Premier gave several confusing statements the one that stood out for me was an answer to a journalist’s question. The question wasn’t audible in the livestream but based on the answer it seems to have been about the number that was agreed to in terms of the capital cost :
“I would be very surprised if that was what the Mayor said in terms of a number because we had an explicit conversation about… that we can’t land on a number because the work hasn’t been done. And the whole conversation should take place in the context of the work that we’re doing on regional express rail”
Premier Kathleen Wynne
January 26, 2015
Here is the video http://livestre.am/52rRE from the Premier’s press conference. The transit discussion begins around 8:40.
I look forward to receiving the official word from the Mayor and Metrolinx on this, and finding out from our Director of Transit (David Dixon) where Hamilton is in the priority queue for Metrolinx funding. The Mayor’s press conference this afternoon indicates we should have a pretty good idea in the next few months when Hamilton would receive funding. I fully support the formation of the citizen’s panel that our Mayor has spoken about and look forward to hearing their views and recommendations. Once we have this information we can begin to move forward with plans to improve transportation for the city and for the region.