Hamilton's LRT history: A Hamilton Community News timeline

News Feb 11, 2019 hamiltonnews.com

It's been one of the biggest, and most contentious issues that the city of Hamilton has faced over the last several years: whether or not to build an LRT system, starting with a line along Main Street from McMaster University to Eastgate Square. Over that time Hamilton Community News has written many stories on the subject. Here are a few key moments from our archives that help explain how we got to where we are today.

January 2020: Eisenberger to continue to fight for LRT

In spite of the province's decision to no longer fund the LRT, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger tells a Rotary Club audience that he hopes that the province will change its mind and revive the project which he says is in the best interests of our city.”

December 2019: LRT reaches the end of the line

Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney announces that the provincial government has pulled the funding for the LRT project citing an increase in the cost to build and operate the system. The decision ended over a decade of discussions, planning and work on the project. It also led to various members of council offering their visions for public transit in Hamilton in the post-LRT age. The cancellation of the LRT project also led to the nixing of a planned bus terminal at McMaster University.

February 2019: Will he, or won't he?

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said that in spite of several attempt to meet with Premier Doug Ford in order to reaffirm Ford's stated commitment to honour the $1-billion in funding for the LRT project, the provincial leader has yet to sit down with the mayor.

December 2018: Auditor General says BRT should have received more study

Provincial Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk faulted Metrolinx for not properly studying a Bus Rapid Transit system for Hamilton while evaluating the case for an LRT. She faulted the provincial transportation funding body for failing to take into account the future levels of intensification along the proposed route.

October 2018: New mandate means full steam ahead for LRT

After defeating anti-LRT challenger Vito Sgro, newly reelected Mayor Fred Eisenberger said that his victory should be seen as a referendum on the proposed LRT system. “A 70,000-plus majority says we want to move forward on LRT. I think councillors need to adhere to that and listen to that and move forward, he told supporters on election night.

March 2018: LRT or no, the money's still coming: Ford

During a campaign stop in Hamilton, PC leader Doug Ford told the crowd that a Progressive Conservative government would guarantee the Liberal pledge to fund $1-billion worth of transit infrastructure for Hamilton. However, unlike Premier Kathleen Wynne's plan, the city could spend the money on any sort of transit it chose, not just an LRT system.

August 2017: Let the HSR run the LRT

In a 9-4 vote, council's general issues committee voted to ask the province to allow the HSR to operate and maintain the city's LRT system rather than allowing a private company to assume the responsibility. However, by December, council backed down and agreed to let Metrolinx to proceed in looking for a private group to run the system.

April 2017: LRT to Eastgate?

The original plan had been to make Eastgate Square the eastern terminus of the LRT system, but that was scaled back to Queenston Circle after a spur line was added along James Street North. Local Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin told reporters that the province would look favourably on re-extending the line to Eastgate if the city so wished. They did and approved the return to Eastgate.

April 2017: Who wants an LRT? Not quite half the city

A poll conducted by Forum Research concluded that 48 per cent of those polled were against the LRT project, with 40 for it and 12 per cent undecided.

March 2017: Marathon meeting

The meeting took 13.5 hours, heard from 40 delegations and was full of feisty debate among council members, and ended with the general issues committee deciding to put off voting on the LRT’s environmental assessment report until April. This wouldn't be the only long meeting council would face regarding the LRT.

December 2016: But what will it cost to run?

Citing the projected cost to operate several LRT routes in Toronto, Coun. Donna Skelly demanded to know how much Hamilton taxpayers would have to pay to run the local LRT system. Paul Johnson, director of Hamilton’s LRT project, said that all costs that the city will be responsible for will be known before construction begins.

July/August 2016: It's good. It's bad. It's good. It's bad...

Throughout the summer conflicting reports and claims whizzed around regarding the LRT. Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead released a report based on reviewing reports done on several North American LRT systems which concluded that Hamilton's project would be of no economic benefit to the city. Then, a traffic study done for the city found that the creation of an LRT system would have little impact on congestion as slower travel times in one area will be offset by quicker times in another. However, several suburban councillors said that the study didn't take into account the fact the drivers will choose to use local streets in their communities to avoid having to drive downtown.

June 2016: Vote delayed, again

Coun. Sam Merulla asked his fellow council members to support a motion to affirm the city's acceptance of the $1-billion in LRT funding from the province back in May, only to have it pushed back to June, requested that it be pushed back again until September to await the results of a key traffic study.

May 2015: Wynne says yes, again

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the funding official during an announcement at McMaster University pledging $1.2 billion to build a light-rail transit system from the university to the Queenston circle.

September 2014: Let's vote on it

As part of his mayoral campaign, Coun. Brad Clark proposed holding a referendum on the LRT question. His main two rivals for the mayor's chair Fred Eisenberger and Coun. Brian McHattie opposed the idea.

May 2014: Wynne says yes

During a campaign stop at Mohawk's Stoney Creek campus, Premier Kathleen Wynne confirmed that if the Liberals win the upcoming election that her government would provide 100 per cent of the base funding needed not only for an LRT, but for an integrated transit system.

April 2013: Provincial funding well runs dry

Premier Kathleen Wynne said the the province can no longer afford to fund $34-billion in planned transit infrastructure projects and instead would look for alternative ways of raising the cash including the possibility of higher licensing fees, tolls, taxes, congestion fees and raising parking rates at GO locations.

September 2011: Council question's Liberals commitment to LRT funding

During the provincial vote, several Hamilton councillors challenged the governing Liberals to make clear how the province would fund the two-line LRT project. All local Liberal MPPs say that their party would continue to support the city's transit needs, but Ted McMeekin said that the city would need help fund the project by making an undetermined co-payment.

 

Hamilton's LRT history: A Hamilton Community News timeline

News Feb 11, 2019 hamiltonnews.com

It's been one of the biggest, and most contentious issues that the city of Hamilton has faced over the last several years: whether or not to build an LRT system, starting with a line along Main Street from McMaster University to Eastgate Square. Over that time Hamilton Community News has written many stories on the subject. Here are a few key moments from our archives that help explain how we got to where we are today.

January 2020: Eisenberger to continue to fight for LRT

In spite of the province's decision to no longer fund the LRT, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger tells a Rotary Club audience that he hopes that the province will change its mind and revive the project which he says is in the best interests of our city.”

December 2019: LRT reaches the end of the line

Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney announces that the provincial government has pulled the funding for the LRT project citing an increase in the cost to build and operate the system. The decision ended over a decade of discussions, planning and work on the project. It also led to various members of council offering their visions for public transit in Hamilton in the post-LRT age. The cancellation of the LRT project also led to the nixing of a planned bus terminal at McMaster University.

February 2019: Will he, or won't he?

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said that in spite of several attempt to meet with Premier Doug Ford in order to reaffirm Ford's stated commitment to honour the $1-billion in funding for the LRT project, the provincial leader has yet to sit down with the mayor.

December 2018: Auditor General says BRT should have received more study

Provincial Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk faulted Metrolinx for not properly studying a Bus Rapid Transit system for Hamilton while evaluating the case for an LRT. She faulted the provincial transportation funding body for failing to take into account the future levels of intensification along the proposed route.

October 2018: New mandate means full steam ahead for LRT

After defeating anti-LRT challenger Vito Sgro, newly reelected Mayor Fred Eisenberger said that his victory should be seen as a referendum on the proposed LRT system. “A 70,000-plus majority says we want to move forward on LRT. I think councillors need to adhere to that and listen to that and move forward, he told supporters on election night.

March 2018: LRT or no, the money's still coming: Ford

During a campaign stop in Hamilton, PC leader Doug Ford told the crowd that a Progressive Conservative government would guarantee the Liberal pledge to fund $1-billion worth of transit infrastructure for Hamilton. However, unlike Premier Kathleen Wynne's plan, the city could spend the money on any sort of transit it chose, not just an LRT system.

August 2017: Let the HSR run the LRT

In a 9-4 vote, council's general issues committee voted to ask the province to allow the HSR to operate and maintain the city's LRT system rather than allowing a private company to assume the responsibility. However, by December, council backed down and agreed to let Metrolinx to proceed in looking for a private group to run the system.

April 2017: LRT to Eastgate?

The original plan had been to make Eastgate Square the eastern terminus of the LRT system, but that was scaled back to Queenston Circle after a spur line was added along James Street North. Local Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin told reporters that the province would look favourably on re-extending the line to Eastgate if the city so wished. They did and approved the return to Eastgate.

April 2017: Who wants an LRT? Not quite half the city

A poll conducted by Forum Research concluded that 48 per cent of those polled were against the LRT project, with 40 for it and 12 per cent undecided.

March 2017: Marathon meeting

The meeting took 13.5 hours, heard from 40 delegations and was full of feisty debate among council members, and ended with the general issues committee deciding to put off voting on the LRT’s environmental assessment report until April. This wouldn't be the only long meeting council would face regarding the LRT.

December 2016: But what will it cost to run?

Citing the projected cost to operate several LRT routes in Toronto, Coun. Donna Skelly demanded to know how much Hamilton taxpayers would have to pay to run the local LRT system. Paul Johnson, director of Hamilton’s LRT project, said that all costs that the city will be responsible for will be known before construction begins.

July/August 2016: It's good. It's bad. It's good. It's bad...

Throughout the summer conflicting reports and claims whizzed around regarding the LRT. Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead released a report based on reviewing reports done on several North American LRT systems which concluded that Hamilton's project would be of no economic benefit to the city. Then, a traffic study done for the city found that the creation of an LRT system would have little impact on congestion as slower travel times in one area will be offset by quicker times in another. However, several suburban councillors said that the study didn't take into account the fact the drivers will choose to use local streets in their communities to avoid having to drive downtown.

June 2016: Vote delayed, again

Coun. Sam Merulla asked his fellow council members to support a motion to affirm the city's acceptance of the $1-billion in LRT funding from the province back in May, only to have it pushed back to June, requested that it be pushed back again until September to await the results of a key traffic study.

May 2015: Wynne says yes, again

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the funding official during an announcement at McMaster University pledging $1.2 billion to build a light-rail transit system from the university to the Queenston circle.

September 2014: Let's vote on it

As part of his mayoral campaign, Coun. Brad Clark proposed holding a referendum on the LRT question. His main two rivals for the mayor's chair Fred Eisenberger and Coun. Brian McHattie opposed the idea.

May 2014: Wynne says yes

During a campaign stop at Mohawk's Stoney Creek campus, Premier Kathleen Wynne confirmed that if the Liberals win the upcoming election that her government would provide 100 per cent of the base funding needed not only for an LRT, but for an integrated transit system.

April 2013: Provincial funding well runs dry

Premier Kathleen Wynne said the the province can no longer afford to fund $34-billion in planned transit infrastructure projects and instead would look for alternative ways of raising the cash including the possibility of higher licensing fees, tolls, taxes, congestion fees and raising parking rates at GO locations.

September 2011: Council question's Liberals commitment to LRT funding

During the provincial vote, several Hamilton councillors challenged the governing Liberals to make clear how the province would fund the two-line LRT project. All local Liberal MPPs say that their party would continue to support the city's transit needs, but Ted McMeekin said that the city would need help fund the project by making an undetermined co-payment.

 

Hamilton's LRT history: A Hamilton Community News timeline

News Feb 11, 2019 hamiltonnews.com

It's been one of the biggest, and most contentious issues that the city of Hamilton has faced over the last several years: whether or not to build an LRT system, starting with a line along Main Street from McMaster University to Eastgate Square. Over that time Hamilton Community News has written many stories on the subject. Here are a few key moments from our archives that help explain how we got to where we are today.

January 2020: Eisenberger to continue to fight for LRT

In spite of the province's decision to no longer fund the LRT, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger tells a Rotary Club audience that he hopes that the province will change its mind and revive the project which he says is in the best interests of our city.”

December 2019: LRT reaches the end of the line

Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney announces that the provincial government has pulled the funding for the LRT project citing an increase in the cost to build and operate the system. The decision ended over a decade of discussions, planning and work on the project. It also led to various members of council offering their visions for public transit in Hamilton in the post-LRT age. The cancellation of the LRT project also led to the nixing of a planned bus terminal at McMaster University.

February 2019: Will he, or won't he?

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said that in spite of several attempt to meet with Premier Doug Ford in order to reaffirm Ford's stated commitment to honour the $1-billion in funding for the LRT project, the provincial leader has yet to sit down with the mayor.

December 2018: Auditor General says BRT should have received more study

Provincial Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk faulted Metrolinx for not properly studying a Bus Rapid Transit system for Hamilton while evaluating the case for an LRT. She faulted the provincial transportation funding body for failing to take into account the future levels of intensification along the proposed route.

October 2018: New mandate means full steam ahead for LRT

After defeating anti-LRT challenger Vito Sgro, newly reelected Mayor Fred Eisenberger said that his victory should be seen as a referendum on the proposed LRT system. “A 70,000-plus majority says we want to move forward on LRT. I think councillors need to adhere to that and listen to that and move forward, he told supporters on election night.

March 2018: LRT or no, the money's still coming: Ford

During a campaign stop in Hamilton, PC leader Doug Ford told the crowd that a Progressive Conservative government would guarantee the Liberal pledge to fund $1-billion worth of transit infrastructure for Hamilton. However, unlike Premier Kathleen Wynne's plan, the city could spend the money on any sort of transit it chose, not just an LRT system.

August 2017: Let the HSR run the LRT

In a 9-4 vote, council's general issues committee voted to ask the province to allow the HSR to operate and maintain the city's LRT system rather than allowing a private company to assume the responsibility. However, by December, council backed down and agreed to let Metrolinx to proceed in looking for a private group to run the system.

April 2017: LRT to Eastgate?

The original plan had been to make Eastgate Square the eastern terminus of the LRT system, but that was scaled back to Queenston Circle after a spur line was added along James Street North. Local Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin told reporters that the province would look favourably on re-extending the line to Eastgate if the city so wished. They did and approved the return to Eastgate.

April 2017: Who wants an LRT? Not quite half the city

A poll conducted by Forum Research concluded that 48 per cent of those polled were against the LRT project, with 40 for it and 12 per cent undecided.

March 2017: Marathon meeting

The meeting took 13.5 hours, heard from 40 delegations and was full of feisty debate among council members, and ended with the general issues committee deciding to put off voting on the LRT’s environmental assessment report until April. This wouldn't be the only long meeting council would face regarding the LRT.

December 2016: But what will it cost to run?

Citing the projected cost to operate several LRT routes in Toronto, Coun. Donna Skelly demanded to know how much Hamilton taxpayers would have to pay to run the local LRT system. Paul Johnson, director of Hamilton’s LRT project, said that all costs that the city will be responsible for will be known before construction begins.

July/August 2016: It's good. It's bad. It's good. It's bad...

Throughout the summer conflicting reports and claims whizzed around regarding the LRT. Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead released a report based on reviewing reports done on several North American LRT systems which concluded that Hamilton's project would be of no economic benefit to the city. Then, a traffic study done for the city found that the creation of an LRT system would have little impact on congestion as slower travel times in one area will be offset by quicker times in another. However, several suburban councillors said that the study didn't take into account the fact the drivers will choose to use local streets in their communities to avoid having to drive downtown.

June 2016: Vote delayed, again

Coun. Sam Merulla asked his fellow council members to support a motion to affirm the city's acceptance of the $1-billion in LRT funding from the province back in May, only to have it pushed back to June, requested that it be pushed back again until September to await the results of a key traffic study.

May 2015: Wynne says yes, again

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the funding official during an announcement at McMaster University pledging $1.2 billion to build a light-rail transit system from the university to the Queenston circle.

September 2014: Let's vote on it

As part of his mayoral campaign, Coun. Brad Clark proposed holding a referendum on the LRT question. His main two rivals for the mayor's chair Fred Eisenberger and Coun. Brian McHattie opposed the idea.

May 2014: Wynne says yes

During a campaign stop at Mohawk's Stoney Creek campus, Premier Kathleen Wynne confirmed that if the Liberals win the upcoming election that her government would provide 100 per cent of the base funding needed not only for an LRT, but for an integrated transit system.

April 2013: Provincial funding well runs dry

Premier Kathleen Wynne said the the province can no longer afford to fund $34-billion in planned transit infrastructure projects and instead would look for alternative ways of raising the cash including the possibility of higher licensing fees, tolls, taxes, congestion fees and raising parking rates at GO locations.

September 2011: Council question's Liberals commitment to LRT funding

During the provincial vote, several Hamilton councillors challenged the governing Liberals to make clear how the province would fund the two-line LRT project. All local Liberal MPPs say that their party would continue to support the city's transit needs, but Ted McMeekin said that the city would need help fund the project by making an undetermined co-payment.