This report recommends continuing scheduled LRT design work, with no final decision to move forward forthcoming until senior levels of government commit to a funding formula for capital costs.
By Joey Coleman
Published October 11, 2011
In an anti-climatic 106 page report, Hamilton city staff are recommending City Council continue pursuing studies toward the building of a rapid transit light rail B-Line and A-Line in Hamilton, provided that Metrolinx funds a portion of the continuing work.
In summary, this report recommends continuing scheduled design work, with no final decision to move forward with LRT forthcoming until senior levels of government commit to a funding formula for capital costs.
The report will be considered by City Council during a special meeting on Thursday, October 13, 2011.
The report states, "capital cost of LRT on the B-Line ranges from $875 million to $1 billion."
Assuming senior levels of government fund $50 to $100 percent of the project, the cost to City finances will be $0 to $509 million.
The city portion will be debt financed. The City of Hamilton's present debt is $355 million.
Without LRT, it is schedule to balloon to $931 million in 2014 and peak at $1.12 billion in 2019. LRT debt will be in addition to these forecast figures.
The city's non-LRT infrastructure capital costs will range from $1.8 to $2.4 million. The estimated annual operating cost of LRT is $16.4 to $25.5 million.
Overall, LRT could result in a residential property tax increase of 1.4 to 7.9 percent or $42 to $230 per household. The report suggests the increase could be phased in over several years.
|LOW ($000s)||HIGH ($000s)|
|Gross LRT Capital Cost||875,000||1,000,000|
|City Share of LRT Capital Cost||0% - $0||50% - 509,000|
|Other City Capital Costs||1,875||2,400|
|Annual LRT Operating Cost||7,800||13,500|
|Annual Operating Cost Impact on Other City Services||8,650||12,020|
|Total Residential Tax Impact: Capital + Operating:|
|- % Per Household||1.4%||7.9%|
|- $ Per Household||$42||$230|
A final report recommending the type of rapid transit for Hamilton will not be presented to Council until senior levels of government show their funding commitments.
The City will prioritize the planning on James Street and Centennial Parkway in anticipation of all-day GO Service to stations beside the CNR tracks at the northern ends of those streets.
In the short-term, staff are recommending the city lobby Metrolinx for funding to buy more articulated buses to address serious capacity issues on city bus routes. The city needs to complete the work required under the agreement reached when Metrolinx provided $3 million to the city for LRT studies.
The report notes that if not completed, the city could be required to return all or part of the $3 million grant. Most of the work is complete and the rest is scheduled for completion in December.
|PART 1: EAST-WEST RAPID TRANSIT PLANNING CORRIDOR (B-LINE), DESIGN & ENGINEERING (PDE)|
|Component 1: Review and Summary of existing B-Line and corridor information carried to out to date||Complete||Summary of data collected from previous studies; mapped corridor base plans; Environmental Conditions Report to be integrated into Environmental Project Report.|
|Component 2: Project Constraints Assessment and Implementation Recommendation||December 2011||Subsurface Infrastructure Assessment; major constraints assessment and critical path risk assessment, traffic management plan, parking and loading study|
|Component 3: Detailed Functional Planning & route analysis of preferred alternative||December 2011||Functional planning and route analysis report, 30% traffic modelling, route alignment and station locations, Storage and Maintenance Facility concept|
|Component 4: Ridership Review and Service Forecasting||Complete||Ridership forecasts, possible support land use development initiatives and vehicle requirements, estimated capital and operating costs.|
|Component 5: Environmental Project Report & Public Consultation||December 2011||Environmental Project Report, Public Consultation and Notice of Completion.|
|PART 2: NORTH-SOUTH RAPID TRANSIT CORRIDOR (A-LINE) & ROUTE SELECTION FEASIBILITY STUDY|
|Component 1: Corridor Alternatives Development||December 2011||Traffic Modelling, transportation impacts on preferred alternative, parking & loading impacts, technology requirements.|
|Component 2: Identification of potential and existing hubs and land use development strategies||December 2011||Summary of potential and existing hubs, timelines for hub development, land use planning study, economic uplift potential report.|
|Component 3: Phasing Strategy||December 2011||Phasing options based on geographic constraints, and growth/support of the existing and future hubs.|
Senior City staff met with Metrolinx on September 22, 2011. Staff report that during the meeting, Metrolinx staff stated the City of Hamilton is at least two years ahead of other projects competing for funding, and that Metrolinx requires Hamilton decide upon a maintenance storage facility and complete the phasing study before Metrolinx will make a funding decision.
The proposed work schedule for LRT in 2012 is presented as:
|Task||Expected Completion||Additional Comments|
|Maintenance Storage Facility analysis||Q4 2012||A Maintenance Storage Facility is required to support the B-Line LRT service. A number of sites must be evaluated in consultation with agencies and City staff to determine the most suitable location (likely 3 to ensure that a preferred site can be purchased, should funding become available) for an MSF.|
|B-Line Phasing Strategy||Q4 2012||Once a Maintenance Storage Facility is determined, a Phasing Strategy would then be developed to bring LRT into service. The location of the MSF affects the overall phasing of the project (i.e. is it constructed from West to East, Centre to West, Centre to East or East to West).|
|Maintenance Storage Facility - EA||Q4 2012||A Transit Project Assessment Process Environmental Assessment will require completion for the MSF location.|
|Partner with McMaster University to develop Electromagnetic Field and vibration mitigation measures for their Scanning Electron Microscope.||Q4 2012||McMaster University is the location of a highly sensitive Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) that can be influenced by electromagnetic fields and vibration. The LRT stop locations at McMaster University are situated close enough to the microscope to warrant analysis of mitigation measures to protect the instrument from LRT related electromagnetic fields. Through consultation with McMaster University, stop locations were determined. However, a commitment was made to partner with them to determine the best measures to minimize the effect of LRT on the SEM.|
|A-Line Terms of Reference for PDE||Q4 2012||A Terms of Reference for completing a Planning, Design and Engineering Study(PDE) for the ALine will be developed in 2012 so that the City of Hamilton can complete the same level of assessment for the A-Line as has been recently completed for the B-Line.|
|Infrastructure Ontario - Value for Money Exercise||Q4 2012||Participation in Infrastructure Ontario's Value for Money (VFM) Assessment to determine the suitability of the B-Line for Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) delivery. The VFM would provide direction as to whether a P3 process or a more traditional delivery model should be considered. Province would fund this study. City staff would be involved.|
An interesting aspect of the proposed LRT line is the stop at McMaster University requiring special mitigation measures to prevent the electromagnetic fields and vibrations from interfering with one of the world's most powerful electron microscope in the world. (It was the most powerful in 2008 and may still be.)
Thursday's meeting will reveal any fault lines that have developed since Council last unanimously endorsed LRT, but with no hard decision required Thursday, don't expect too many fireworks. It's a status quo recommendation that will get likely receive a status-quo unanimous vote.
|CAPITAL COST ESTIMATES (2011-$000s)||LRT||BRT|
|Design & Management||136,100||43,900|
|Total Estimate before Contingency||$739,000||$222,500|
|OPERATING COST ESTIMATES (2011-$000s)||LRT||BRT|
|Based on 22 vehicles||13,500|
|Based on 36 buses||16,100|
|Assumes 18 buses off the network||-5,700|
|Total Net Operating Estimate||$7,800||$16,10|
This article was originally published on Joey's blog.
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