Will the economic benefits of the LRT spread beyond downtown Hamilton?

Opinion Jun 04, 2015 Dundas Star News

If you were anywhere near downtown Hamilton last week, you might of heard the popping of Champagne corks at the Liberal government’s announcement it would not only provide 100 per cent the capital funding for a light rail transit system, but it would also own, maintain and operate it.

“I couldn’t paint a better picture,” said an ecstatic Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “We have never in our history had a billion dollar investment in anything let alone transit.”

But while transit nerds and progressive types in the lower city celebrated what they characterized as a “game changing” moment for Hamilton, what about the rest of the city?

The LRT project comes with a few caveats. The eastern terminus stops at the Queenston circle instead of Eastgate Square as originally planned. Instead, downtown Hamilton benefits again with a spur line from Main Street down James Street North and on to the waterfront.

Another troubling aspect to the LRT announcement was there was no mention of the $300 million Hamilton requested that would improve the city’s existing bus system, which does benefit all of Hamilton. During the last municipal election, while suburban residents had little appetite for a new LRT, they did demand a better busing.

The so-called economic miracle that has been occurring within Hamilton has been centred on the lower city where despite the years, money and effort, the core remains a long way from the ideal Pittsburgh-model city idealists dream about. That effort, by the way, has been at the expense of the suburban areas, where taxes still remain high and services limited.

Still, despite the rhetoric of an LRT system, politicians attempted to put a positive spin on the future impact it will have for the entire city. Councillors talked about the “economic uplift” lower Hamilton will experience, arguing that the financial impact will take in the entire city.

Eisenberger said the new James Street North line is the first part of the city’s proposed A-Line that would link the Hamilton International Airport and the waterfront.

“It will not only serve the lower city of Hamilton, but the Mountain as well,” he said.

A definite economic spinoff, though, is expected to come not from the LRT, but the province’s secondary announcement that a $150-million GO station is being built at Centennial Parkway. As some councillors have pointed out at least a GO station has a track record of direct economic renewal for a community, an LRT system so far does not.

Will the economic benefits of the LRT spread beyond downtown Hamilton?

Opinion Jun 04, 2015 Dundas Star News

If you were anywhere near downtown Hamilton last week, you might of heard the popping of Champagne corks at the Liberal government’s announcement it would not only provide 100 per cent the capital funding for a light rail transit system, but it would also own, maintain and operate it.

“I couldn’t paint a better picture,” said an ecstatic Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “We have never in our history had a billion dollar investment in anything let alone transit.”

But while transit nerds and progressive types in the lower city celebrated what they characterized as a “game changing” moment for Hamilton, what about the rest of the city?

The LRT project comes with a few caveats. The eastern terminus stops at the Queenston circle instead of Eastgate Square as originally planned. Instead, downtown Hamilton benefits again with a spur line from Main Street down James Street North and on to the waterfront.

Another troubling aspect to the LRT announcement was there was no mention of the $300 million Hamilton requested that would improve the city’s existing bus system, which does benefit all of Hamilton. During the last municipal election, while suburban residents had little appetite for a new LRT, they did demand a better busing.

The so-called economic miracle that has been occurring within Hamilton has been centred on the lower city where despite the years, money and effort, the core remains a long way from the ideal Pittsburgh-model city idealists dream about. That effort, by the way, has been at the expense of the suburban areas, where taxes still remain high and services limited.

Still, despite the rhetoric of an LRT system, politicians attempted to put a positive spin on the future impact it will have for the entire city. Councillors talked about the “economic uplift” lower Hamilton will experience, arguing that the financial impact will take in the entire city.

Eisenberger said the new James Street North line is the first part of the city’s proposed A-Line that would link the Hamilton International Airport and the waterfront.

“It will not only serve the lower city of Hamilton, but the Mountain as well,” he said.

A definite economic spinoff, though, is expected to come not from the LRT, but the province’s secondary announcement that a $150-million GO station is being built at Centennial Parkway. As some councillors have pointed out at least a GO station has a track record of direct economic renewal for a community, an LRT system so far does not.

Will the economic benefits of the LRT spread beyond downtown Hamilton?

Opinion Jun 04, 2015 Dundas Star News

If you were anywhere near downtown Hamilton last week, you might of heard the popping of Champagne corks at the Liberal government’s announcement it would not only provide 100 per cent the capital funding for a light rail transit system, but it would also own, maintain and operate it.

“I couldn’t paint a better picture,” said an ecstatic Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “We have never in our history had a billion dollar investment in anything let alone transit.”

But while transit nerds and progressive types in the lower city celebrated what they characterized as a “game changing” moment for Hamilton, what about the rest of the city?

The LRT project comes with a few caveats. The eastern terminus stops at the Queenston circle instead of Eastgate Square as originally planned. Instead, downtown Hamilton benefits again with a spur line from Main Street down James Street North and on to the waterfront.

Another troubling aspect to the LRT announcement was there was no mention of the $300 million Hamilton requested that would improve the city’s existing bus system, which does benefit all of Hamilton. During the last municipal election, while suburban residents had little appetite for a new LRT, they did demand a better busing.

The so-called economic miracle that has been occurring within Hamilton has been centred on the lower city where despite the years, money and effort, the core remains a long way from the ideal Pittsburgh-model city idealists dream about. That effort, by the way, has been at the expense of the suburban areas, where taxes still remain high and services limited.

Still, despite the rhetoric of an LRT system, politicians attempted to put a positive spin on the future impact it will have for the entire city. Councillors talked about the “economic uplift” lower Hamilton will experience, arguing that the financial impact will take in the entire city.

Eisenberger said the new James Street North line is the first part of the city’s proposed A-Line that would link the Hamilton International Airport and the waterfront.

“It will not only serve the lower city of Hamilton, but the Mountain as well,” he said.

A definite economic spinoff, though, is expected to come not from the LRT, but the province’s secondary announcement that a $150-million GO station is being built at Centennial Parkway. As some councillors have pointed out at least a GO station has a track record of direct economic renewal for a community, an LRT system so far does not.