LRT’s trip into a dark tunnel

Opinion Apr 06, 2017 Stoney Creek News

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that Flamborough Coun. Judi Partridge is leaning toward the no side of the light rail transit (LRT) debate.

In an op-ed piece she recently released, Partridge highlights two particular issues that have more than a few suburban councillors questioning the new the direction of the LRT.

The first is how the LRT has been scaled back from the original 14-kilometre route that would have started in Dundas and continue to Eastgate Square to a truncated 11-km venture from McMaster University to the Queenston Circle. If the LRT was truly trying to connect all of Hamilton, then running the service outside the core would seem to be a critical part to making it a success.

Partridge also questioned the emerging unknown operating cost of the LRT.

A report for Toronto city council released earlier this year found that operating the four LRTs in that city could cost more than $100 million per year. The Eglinton Crosstown LRT alone is expected to cost the city about $39 million in annual subsidy.

How much will Hamilton’s operating cost be in 2024 when the service is scheduled to start? No one knows. While the original 14-km route did have some preliminary operating numbers attached, the shorter route is bereft of information. Metrolinx officials, who are in charge of the entire operation, say it’s essential those figures remain secret as they prepare to tender out the project in June.

There are also questionable numbers around how much building the LRT will actually cost. Is it $1 billion, or $900 million due to the shortened route and elimination of the James Street North spur? And how much of that $1 billion will go toward paying for the bus rapid transit service from the waterfront to the Hamilton Airport that was hastily announced by Metrolinx?

That lack of transparency doesn’t sit well with a number of councillors who have been wavering in their support of this project. They now find themselves voting on the largest capital project in Hamilton’s history, unable to determine the financial impact it will have on taxpayers for now and the future.

There still remains too much uncertainty. While proponents continue to argue it will be great for Hamilton economically, there seems to be a lack of supporting evidence for that optimistic projection.

Unfortunately, you can only support such an important project for so long based upon hope alone. Without the key data behind the project, it’s anyone’s guess if the LRT will be a roaring success or an abject failure.

Could releasing more data on the LRT cause you to change your mind about the project?
Yes
No
surveymaker
 
 
 
 
 
 

LRT’s trip into a dark tunnel

Opinion Apr 06, 2017 Stoney Creek News

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that Flamborough Coun. Judi Partridge is leaning toward the no side of the light rail transit (LRT) debate.

In an op-ed piece she recently released, Partridge highlights two particular issues that have more than a few suburban councillors questioning the new the direction of the LRT.

The first is how the LRT has been scaled back from the original 14-kilometre route that would have started in Dundas and continue to Eastgate Square to a truncated 11-km venture from McMaster University to the Queenston Circle. If the LRT was truly trying to connect all of Hamilton, then running the service outside the core would seem to be a critical part to making it a success.

Partridge also questioned the emerging unknown operating cost of the LRT.

A report for Toronto city council released earlier this year found that operating the four LRTs in that city could cost more than $100 million per year. The Eglinton Crosstown LRT alone is expected to cost the city about $39 million in annual subsidy.

How much will Hamilton’s operating cost be in 2024 when the service is scheduled to start? No one knows. While the original 14-km route did have some preliminary operating numbers attached, the shorter route is bereft of information. Metrolinx officials, who are in charge of the entire operation, say it’s essential those figures remain secret as they prepare to tender out the project in June.

There are also questionable numbers around how much building the LRT will actually cost. Is it $1 billion, or $900 million due to the shortened route and elimination of the James Street North spur? And how much of that $1 billion will go toward paying for the bus rapid transit service from the waterfront to the Hamilton Airport that was hastily announced by Metrolinx?

That lack of transparency doesn’t sit well with a number of councillors who have been wavering in their support of this project. They now find themselves voting on the largest capital project in Hamilton’s history, unable to determine the financial impact it will have on taxpayers for now and the future.

There still remains too much uncertainty. While proponents continue to argue it will be great for Hamilton economically, there seems to be a lack of supporting evidence for that optimistic projection.

Unfortunately, you can only support such an important project for so long based upon hope alone. Without the key data behind the project, it’s anyone’s guess if the LRT will be a roaring success or an abject failure.

Could releasing more data on the LRT cause you to change your mind about the project?
Yes
No
surveymaker
 
 
 
 
 
 

LRT’s trip into a dark tunnel

Opinion Apr 06, 2017 Stoney Creek News

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that Flamborough Coun. Judi Partridge is leaning toward the no side of the light rail transit (LRT) debate.

In an op-ed piece she recently released, Partridge highlights two particular issues that have more than a few suburban councillors questioning the new the direction of the LRT.

The first is how the LRT has been scaled back from the original 14-kilometre route that would have started in Dundas and continue to Eastgate Square to a truncated 11-km venture from McMaster University to the Queenston Circle. If the LRT was truly trying to connect all of Hamilton, then running the service outside the core would seem to be a critical part to making it a success.

Partridge also questioned the emerging unknown operating cost of the LRT.

A report for Toronto city council released earlier this year found that operating the four LRTs in that city could cost more than $100 million per year. The Eglinton Crosstown LRT alone is expected to cost the city about $39 million in annual subsidy.

How much will Hamilton’s operating cost be in 2024 when the service is scheduled to start? No one knows. While the original 14-km route did have some preliminary operating numbers attached, the shorter route is bereft of information. Metrolinx officials, who are in charge of the entire operation, say it’s essential those figures remain secret as they prepare to tender out the project in June.

There are also questionable numbers around how much building the LRT will actually cost. Is it $1 billion, or $900 million due to the shortened route and elimination of the James Street North spur? And how much of that $1 billion will go toward paying for the bus rapid transit service from the waterfront to the Hamilton Airport that was hastily announced by Metrolinx?

That lack of transparency doesn’t sit well with a number of councillors who have been wavering in their support of this project. They now find themselves voting on the largest capital project in Hamilton’s history, unable to determine the financial impact it will have on taxpayers for now and the future.

There still remains too much uncertainty. While proponents continue to argue it will be great for Hamilton economically, there seems to be a lack of supporting evidence for that optimistic projection.

Unfortunately, you can only support such an important project for so long based upon hope alone. Without the key data behind the project, it’s anyone’s guess if the LRT will be a roaring success or an abject failure.

Could releasing more data on the LRT cause you to change your mind about the project?
Yes
No
surveymaker