Hamilton’s light-rail transit project drives into political congestion

News May 11, 2016 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton councillors have referred the highly-charged light-rail transit issue to next week’s government issues committee in a potential vote that could change the direction of the $1 billion project.

Politicians were all set to discuss Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla’s motion to “reaffirm the acceptance” of the $1 billion in capital funding from the provincial government that was announced about a year ago at McMaster University, but in a 9-6 vote, councillors referred the debate to the May 18 meeting.

Merulla called councillors who he believed were attempting to slow down the LRT project, “deceivers” who have mislead Hamilton residents when they originally supported it.

He said those politicians that have expressed second thoughts on backing LRT after previously voting for it, are creating “a situation of inconsistency, unpredictability and chaos.”

Merulla said “Love me or hate me, when I say something I mean it.”

Other councillors who opposed the referral motion were Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson, Mayor Fred Eisenberger, Matthew Green, Jason Farr, and Aidan Johnson.

But Flamborough councillor Judi Partridge, who introduced the motion to refer the debate until next week, said she isn’t trying to derail the LRT project. She said there remains too many unanswered questions, such as how much will the city pay to replace the utilities and other infrastructure along the 11 km route, that have yet to be talked about by all politicians.

For instance, she said Metrolinx has stated all capital and infrastructure costs will be covered by the province. But what happens when other services need to be replaced or upgraded along the LRT corridor? she said.

“This issue hasn’t been thoroughly discussed by all of council and the residents of this city need to know what if any costs or increase to taxes may result,” she said.

Partridge said there are design plans and the route of the LRT that councillors that also have yet to discuss by politicians. As well, residents, including representatives of the business community want to have a say in the process.

“The community has not had an opportunity to talk to council,” she said.

Politicians supporting her motion were Terry Whitehead, Doug Conley, Tom Jackson, Chad Collins, Donna Skelly, Maria Pearson, who seconded the motion, Brenda Johnson and Robert Pasuta. Absent from the meeting was Dundas councillor Arlene VanderBeek.

Hamilton LRT staff only last week revealed concept design plans on where the LRT will be located, and how the city will accommodate the transit system along Main and James streets. There still remains a question if the spur line from Main Street along James Street to the waterfront will even be constructed because of the lack of money.

Up to this point, about $6 million has been spent on design and administrative costs for the LRT, said Mike Zegarac, general manager of corporate finances.

There have also been at least three council votes over the last few years all in support of LRT, including selecting the project over bus rapid transit so it can be funded by the province.

Ward 5 councillor Chad Collins, who voted for the referral motion, said the 9-6 vote in favour shows that there are more questions about the LRT project. He said the “vast majority” of residents across the city oppose the project.

He says the LRT debate hasn’t been voted upon by residents, like the public supporting the Red Hill Parkway during the 2003 mayoral election where Larry Di Ianni supported it, and David Christopherson was opposed. Di Ianni won that mayoral election with a mandate to build the roadway.

“This project screams referendum,” says Collins, who is opposed to the project. “This has never been through an election process.”

He said Hamilton may want to tell the province it doesn’t want to use the $1 billion for LRT and instead seek to spend the funding on other infrastructure projects such as sidewalks, roads, affordable housing or bus transit.

 Collins said despite the arguments that LRT will provide an “economic uplift” to the city, no study supports that view. He said instead, it will hurt businesses as it reduces access to shops, with the potential of a number of them closing, or the city moves in to expropriate properties creating further hardship along the LRT corridor.

Stoney Creek councillor Doug Conley, who also voted for the referral, says Stoney Creek residents are opposed to the LRT.

When he campaigned in the 2014 election, he was opposed to the LRT and he remains so today. He said there are too many unanswered questions about the LRT project.

“Give me a plan,” he said. “How can I vote on it without a plan? I can’t support it.”

He is concerned LRT, which is planned to be built from McMaster University to the Queenston Circle, will create traffic problems along side streets throughout the area.

“There are a lot of questions about it,” he said.

 

Hamilton’s light-rail transit project drives into political congestion

News May 11, 2016 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton councillors have referred the highly-charged light-rail transit issue to next week’s government issues committee in a potential vote that could change the direction of the $1 billion project.

Politicians were all set to discuss Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla’s motion to “reaffirm the acceptance” of the $1 billion in capital funding from the provincial government that was announced about a year ago at McMaster University, but in a 9-6 vote, councillors referred the debate to the May 18 meeting.

Merulla called councillors who he believed were attempting to slow down the LRT project, “deceivers” who have mislead Hamilton residents when they originally supported it.

He said those politicians that have expressed second thoughts on backing LRT after previously voting for it, are creating “a situation of inconsistency, unpredictability and chaos.”

Related Content

Merulla said “Love me or hate me, when I say something I mean it.”

Other councillors who opposed the referral motion were Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson, Mayor Fred Eisenberger, Matthew Green, Jason Farr, and Aidan Johnson.

But Flamborough councillor Judi Partridge, who introduced the motion to refer the debate until next week, said she isn’t trying to derail the LRT project. She said there remains too many unanswered questions, such as how much will the city pay to replace the utilities and other infrastructure along the 11 km route, that have yet to be talked about by all politicians.

For instance, she said Metrolinx has stated all capital and infrastructure costs will be covered by the province. But what happens when other services need to be replaced or upgraded along the LRT corridor? she said.

“This issue hasn’t been thoroughly discussed by all of council and the residents of this city need to know what if any costs or increase to taxes may result,” she said.

Partridge said there are design plans and the route of the LRT that councillors that also have yet to discuss by politicians. As well, residents, including representatives of the business community want to have a say in the process.

“The community has not had an opportunity to talk to council,” she said.

Politicians supporting her motion were Terry Whitehead, Doug Conley, Tom Jackson, Chad Collins, Donna Skelly, Maria Pearson, who seconded the motion, Brenda Johnson and Robert Pasuta. Absent from the meeting was Dundas councillor Arlene VanderBeek.

Hamilton LRT staff only last week revealed concept design plans on where the LRT will be located, and how the city will accommodate the transit system along Main and James streets. There still remains a question if the spur line from Main Street along James Street to the waterfront will even be constructed because of the lack of money.

Up to this point, about $6 million has been spent on design and administrative costs for the LRT, said Mike Zegarac, general manager of corporate finances.

There have also been at least three council votes over the last few years all in support of LRT, including selecting the project over bus rapid transit so it can be funded by the province.

Ward 5 councillor Chad Collins, who voted for the referral motion, said the 9-6 vote in favour shows that there are more questions about the LRT project. He said the “vast majority” of residents across the city oppose the project.

He says the LRT debate hasn’t been voted upon by residents, like the public supporting the Red Hill Parkway during the 2003 mayoral election where Larry Di Ianni supported it, and David Christopherson was opposed. Di Ianni won that mayoral election with a mandate to build the roadway.

“This project screams referendum,” says Collins, who is opposed to the project. “This has never been through an election process.”

He said Hamilton may want to tell the province it doesn’t want to use the $1 billion for LRT and instead seek to spend the funding on other infrastructure projects such as sidewalks, roads, affordable housing or bus transit.

 Collins said despite the arguments that LRT will provide an “economic uplift” to the city, no study supports that view. He said instead, it will hurt businesses as it reduces access to shops, with the potential of a number of them closing, or the city moves in to expropriate properties creating further hardship along the LRT corridor.

Stoney Creek councillor Doug Conley, who also voted for the referral, says Stoney Creek residents are opposed to the LRT.

When he campaigned in the 2014 election, he was opposed to the LRT and he remains so today. He said there are too many unanswered questions about the LRT project.

“Give me a plan,” he said. “How can I vote on it without a plan? I can’t support it.”

He is concerned LRT, which is planned to be built from McMaster University to the Queenston Circle, will create traffic problems along side streets throughout the area.

“There are a lot of questions about it,” he said.

 

Hamilton’s light-rail transit project drives into political congestion

News May 11, 2016 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton councillors have referred the highly-charged light-rail transit issue to next week’s government issues committee in a potential vote that could change the direction of the $1 billion project.

Politicians were all set to discuss Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla’s motion to “reaffirm the acceptance” of the $1 billion in capital funding from the provincial government that was announced about a year ago at McMaster University, but in a 9-6 vote, councillors referred the debate to the May 18 meeting.

Merulla called councillors who he believed were attempting to slow down the LRT project, “deceivers” who have mislead Hamilton residents when they originally supported it.

He said those politicians that have expressed second thoughts on backing LRT after previously voting for it, are creating “a situation of inconsistency, unpredictability and chaos.”

Related Content

Merulla said “Love me or hate me, when I say something I mean it.”

Other councillors who opposed the referral motion were Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson, Mayor Fred Eisenberger, Matthew Green, Jason Farr, and Aidan Johnson.

But Flamborough councillor Judi Partridge, who introduced the motion to refer the debate until next week, said she isn’t trying to derail the LRT project. She said there remains too many unanswered questions, such as how much will the city pay to replace the utilities and other infrastructure along the 11 km route, that have yet to be talked about by all politicians.

For instance, she said Metrolinx has stated all capital and infrastructure costs will be covered by the province. But what happens when other services need to be replaced or upgraded along the LRT corridor? she said.

“This issue hasn’t been thoroughly discussed by all of council and the residents of this city need to know what if any costs or increase to taxes may result,” she said.

Partridge said there are design plans and the route of the LRT that councillors that also have yet to discuss by politicians. As well, residents, including representatives of the business community want to have a say in the process.

“The community has not had an opportunity to talk to council,” she said.

Politicians supporting her motion were Terry Whitehead, Doug Conley, Tom Jackson, Chad Collins, Donna Skelly, Maria Pearson, who seconded the motion, Brenda Johnson and Robert Pasuta. Absent from the meeting was Dundas councillor Arlene VanderBeek.

Hamilton LRT staff only last week revealed concept design plans on where the LRT will be located, and how the city will accommodate the transit system along Main and James streets. There still remains a question if the spur line from Main Street along James Street to the waterfront will even be constructed because of the lack of money.

Up to this point, about $6 million has been spent on design and administrative costs for the LRT, said Mike Zegarac, general manager of corporate finances.

There have also been at least three council votes over the last few years all in support of LRT, including selecting the project over bus rapid transit so it can be funded by the province.

Ward 5 councillor Chad Collins, who voted for the referral motion, said the 9-6 vote in favour shows that there are more questions about the LRT project. He said the “vast majority” of residents across the city oppose the project.

He says the LRT debate hasn’t been voted upon by residents, like the public supporting the Red Hill Parkway during the 2003 mayoral election where Larry Di Ianni supported it, and David Christopherson was opposed. Di Ianni won that mayoral election with a mandate to build the roadway.

“This project screams referendum,” says Collins, who is opposed to the project. “This has never been through an election process.”

He said Hamilton may want to tell the province it doesn’t want to use the $1 billion for LRT and instead seek to spend the funding on other infrastructure projects such as sidewalks, roads, affordable housing or bus transit.

 Collins said despite the arguments that LRT will provide an “economic uplift” to the city, no study supports that view. He said instead, it will hurt businesses as it reduces access to shops, with the potential of a number of them closing, or the city moves in to expropriate properties creating further hardship along the LRT corridor.

Stoney Creek councillor Doug Conley, who also voted for the referral, says Stoney Creek residents are opposed to the LRT.

When he campaigned in the 2014 election, he was opposed to the LRT and he remains so today. He said there are too many unanswered questions about the LRT project.

“Give me a plan,” he said. “How can I vote on it without a plan? I can’t support it.”

He is concerned LRT, which is planned to be built from McMaster University to the Queenston Circle, will create traffic problems along side streets throughout the area.

“There are a lot of questions about it,” he said.