Clark jumps on BRT system

News Sep 03, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

Hamilton mayoral candidate Brad Clark is taking a different track on the city’s proposed light-rail transit system.

In a news conference at his Dundas campaign office Sept. 3, Clark said the city “can’t afford” the $800-million LRT system.

Instead, Clark is jumping on a bus rapid transit system that is estimated to cost about $350 million and, he said, will ultimately benefit the entire city.

“The taxpayer can not afford (LRT)” said Clark. “LRT at the moment can not be supported. It’s not about what we want, it’s about what we need.”

Clark said a BRT system is “reasonable, pragmatic, and more cost effective. It’s more affordable for the city, more affordable for the province.”

He said Hamilton is also struggling with an annual $200 million infrastructure deficit that includes aging sewers, crumbling roads and deteriorating sidewalks and the lack of transit across the suburban areas.

“It’s not just about the downtown,” saidClark.

Clark said the 14-km route from McMaster University to Eastgate Square along King Street will require “significant” underground infrastructure improvements that the city will have to pay. In addition, Hamiltonwill be on the hook for  operating the system. He said the annual expense has not been identified.

“The operational costs have not been discussed in public,” he said. “(Hamilton) would be at the bottom (of ridership scale) a barely viable LRT system.”

Even now, according to the city’s Rapid Ready report, Hamilton doesn’t have the ridership necessary for a LRT system, he said.

Clark, who in the past has questioned the affordability of LRT, said residents have told him they are more concerned about rising property taxes and the poor state of their roads and sidewalks rather than paying for a LRT system.

“We need to get back to our basics,” said Clark.

Clark’s position is in marked contrast to mayoral candidate Brian McHattie, Ward 1 councillor, who has promoted LRT as an economic redevelopment opportunity for the city. Fred Eisenberger, a former city mayor, has supported in the past LRT, but has recently called for a new discussion on the benefits of LRT and BRT.

The Canadian Urban Institute estimated an LRT system would “triple the amount of development” along the B-line, and provide the city with $81.6 million in tax revenue to the city over 15 years.

City staff has stated that it could take up to seven years to build the LRT line.

Hamilton council has identified LRT as its preferred transit system to the province and Metrolinx. The Hamilton Chamber and other organizations have come out in support of the system as well.

The province has been non-committal about supporting Hamilton’s LRT system. During a meeting with city politicians and officials recently, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca refused to say if the city would receive the necessary capital funding for a LRT system.

The province did announce prior to the Ontario election a $29 billion fund, including $15 billion for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for transportation.

Clark jumps on BRT system

News Sep 03, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

Hamilton mayoral candidate Brad Clark is taking a different track on the city’s proposed light-rail transit system.

In a news conference at his Dundas campaign office Sept. 3, Clark said the city “can’t afford” the $800-million LRT system.

Instead, Clark is jumping on a bus rapid transit system that is estimated to cost about $350 million and, he said, will ultimately benefit the entire city.

“The taxpayer can not afford (LRT)” said Clark. “LRT at the moment can not be supported. It’s not about what we want, it’s about what we need.”

Clark said a BRT system is “reasonable, pragmatic, and more cost effective. It’s more affordable for the city, more affordable for the province.”

He said Hamilton is also struggling with an annual $200 million infrastructure deficit that includes aging sewers, crumbling roads and deteriorating sidewalks and the lack of transit across the suburban areas.

“It’s not just about the downtown,” saidClark.

Clark said the 14-km route from McMaster University to Eastgate Square along King Street will require “significant” underground infrastructure improvements that the city will have to pay. In addition, Hamiltonwill be on the hook for  operating the system. He said the annual expense has not been identified.

“The operational costs have not been discussed in public,” he said. “(Hamilton) would be at the bottom (of ridership scale) a barely viable LRT system.”

Even now, according to the city’s Rapid Ready report, Hamilton doesn’t have the ridership necessary for a LRT system, he said.

Clark, who in the past has questioned the affordability of LRT, said residents have told him they are more concerned about rising property taxes and the poor state of their roads and sidewalks rather than paying for a LRT system.

“We need to get back to our basics,” said Clark.

Clark’s position is in marked contrast to mayoral candidate Brian McHattie, Ward 1 councillor, who has promoted LRT as an economic redevelopment opportunity for the city. Fred Eisenberger, a former city mayor, has supported in the past LRT, but has recently called for a new discussion on the benefits of LRT and BRT.

The Canadian Urban Institute estimated an LRT system would “triple the amount of development” along the B-line, and provide the city with $81.6 million in tax revenue to the city over 15 years.

City staff has stated that it could take up to seven years to build the LRT line.

Hamilton council has identified LRT as its preferred transit system to the province and Metrolinx. The Hamilton Chamber and other organizations have come out in support of the system as well.

The province has been non-committal about supporting Hamilton’s LRT system. During a meeting with city politicians and officials recently, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca refused to say if the city would receive the necessary capital funding for a LRT system.

The province did announce prior to the Ontario election a $29 billion fund, including $15 billion for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for transportation.

Clark jumps on BRT system

News Sep 03, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

Hamilton mayoral candidate Brad Clark is taking a different track on the city’s proposed light-rail transit system.

In a news conference at his Dundas campaign office Sept. 3, Clark said the city “can’t afford” the $800-million LRT system.

Instead, Clark is jumping on a bus rapid transit system that is estimated to cost about $350 million and, he said, will ultimately benefit the entire city.

“The taxpayer can not afford (LRT)” said Clark. “LRT at the moment can not be supported. It’s not about what we want, it’s about what we need.”

Clark said a BRT system is “reasonable, pragmatic, and more cost effective. It’s more affordable for the city, more affordable for the province.”

He said Hamilton is also struggling with an annual $200 million infrastructure deficit that includes aging sewers, crumbling roads and deteriorating sidewalks and the lack of transit across the suburban areas.

“It’s not just about the downtown,” saidClark.

Clark said the 14-km route from McMaster University to Eastgate Square along King Street will require “significant” underground infrastructure improvements that the city will have to pay. In addition, Hamiltonwill be on the hook for  operating the system. He said the annual expense has not been identified.

“The operational costs have not been discussed in public,” he said. “(Hamilton) would be at the bottom (of ridership scale) a barely viable LRT system.”

Even now, according to the city’s Rapid Ready report, Hamilton doesn’t have the ridership necessary for a LRT system, he said.

Clark, who in the past has questioned the affordability of LRT, said residents have told him they are more concerned about rising property taxes and the poor state of their roads and sidewalks rather than paying for a LRT system.

“We need to get back to our basics,” said Clark.

Clark’s position is in marked contrast to mayoral candidate Brian McHattie, Ward 1 councillor, who has promoted LRT as an economic redevelopment opportunity for the city. Fred Eisenberger, a former city mayor, has supported in the past LRT, but has recently called for a new discussion on the benefits of LRT and BRT.

The Canadian Urban Institute estimated an LRT system would “triple the amount of development” along the B-line, and provide the city with $81.6 million in tax revenue to the city over 15 years.

City staff has stated that it could take up to seven years to build the LRT line.

Hamilton council has identified LRT as its preferred transit system to the province and Metrolinx. The Hamilton Chamber and other organizations have come out in support of the system as well.

The province has been non-committal about supporting Hamilton’s LRT system. During a meeting with city politicians and officials recently, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca refused to say if the city would receive the necessary capital funding for a LRT system.

The province did announce prior to the Ontario election a $29 billion fund, including $15 billion for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for transportation.