WAIT AND SEE ON LRT

At a recent Business Roundtable hosted by the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce (FCC), MPP Patrick Brown – the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario  – went on the record saying he would honour Hamilton’s $1 billion Light Rail Transit (LRT) funding commitment made by Premier Kathleen Wynne should he be elected premier in the 2018 provincial election.

But that’s not all he said.

He also said that should Hamilton Council decide to approve a transportation-related infrastructure project instead of LRT, he would still honour the $1 billion funding commitment.

Considering the fiscal challenges the province is facing, Brown’s comments clearly surprised some of the attendees.

More recently, Mayor Fred Eisenberger and CEO Keanin Loomis of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce met with the FCC Board of Directors urging it to throw its support behind Hamilton’s LRT project.

Both are passionate advocates for the project, convinced the 6-year project (2019-2025) along King Street from the Queenston Circle to McMaster University will bring ‘transformative’ change to Hamilton resulting in an economic boom complete with new jobs and property tax revenues.

The FCC has been studying the LRT project for months.

It’s concerned about many unanswered questions – especially those related to the potential negative impacts for Flamborough taxpayers.

While admitting there are ‘no guarantees’ both Mayor Eisenberger and CEO Loomis promised to do all they can to address the FCC’s concerns.

The matter will come to head this fall when Hamilton Council will make a final decision.

Will the majority of Council decide that it can’t turn its head to $1 billion despite the many unanswered questions and negative impacts during the long construction period?

Or will the majority decide to ask for other transportation-related projects – like $500 million for improved HSR bus service and another $500 million to improve crumbling roads throughout all of Hamilton’s 15 wards?

Stay tuned.

(The column above was published in the August 18, 2016 edition of the Flamborough Review.)

For the extensive media coverage of MPP Brown’s visit with the FCC please click HERE (Flamborough Review) and HERE and HERE and HERE (Hamilton Community News) and HERE and HERE (The Hamilton Spectator) and HERE (CBC Hamilton).

For photos taken at the Business Roundtable with MPP Patrick Brown, click HERE.

For photos of the meeting of the FCC Board of Directors with Mayor Eisenberger and CEO Keanin Loomis of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, click HERE.