By RTH Staff
Published July 21, 2011
Mayor Bob Bratina has responded to last week's letter of support for light rail transit (LRT) by the Durand Neighbourhood Association with a point-by-point rebuttal. Following is the text of Bratina's letter.
"....... strongly encourage you to champion LRT in the city."
I personally strongly endorse Light Rail Transit and always have. I'm not able to say at this point whether I can endorse the project that is being proposed.
"..... LRT is a proven catalyst to economic development and growth."
It has done this in many cases, but certainly not all.
".....It reduces the use of single-occupancy vehicles and increases the use of public transit."
Congestion along the proposed corridor is not at a critical level.
".... LRT would directly benefit the core, urban neighbourhoods and all of Hamilton by replacing polluting, noisy buses that crowd our streets, "
BRT proponents claim otherwise.
"..... help to concentrate economic development downtown, "
All day GO train service at James North would have a much bigger impact.
".......increase business assessments to help reduce the residential tax-burden,"
At this stage of evaluation, using the Waterloo experience as a guideline, residential taxes might well increase ten per cent or more depending on the funding formula, yet to be determined.
"........ and speed up travel to downtown and other areas of the city ."
The estimate is about 8 minutes end to end.
"....... The province granted $3 million for the study of the LRT line from Eastgate to McMaster University precisely because it is the only sensible choice for the first LRT line. It is the most highly travelled route by car and bus (the B-line) and the ridership already exists on that route."
The concern is that all revenues from LRT may have to be dedicated to its funding, leaving other routes currently subsidized by the profitable B line buses open to fare increases, etc.
".........There are many options for intensification apart from demolishing homes."
We are not hearing at all from the development community on this.
"........ The city has a once in a lifetime opportunity to receive 100% of direct capital costs from higher government. That money will be given to another city if Hamilton’s LRT project is not approved."
We can always negotiate with our funding partners in this regard.
"........ The cost to Hamilton taxpayers in the short term will allow us to reap the proven economic development benefits of the LRT in the longer term."
We are not yet fully informed as to the costs, how they will be covered, and what the economic potential may be, in the absence of interest from the Development community.
".......The majority of the city’s costs will largely be streetscape improvements which are desperately needed in any event."
Can't comment on this.
Thanks for your interest and messaging.
Mayor, City of Hamilton.