By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published September 05, 2011
From Andrew Dreschel's column last week on the velodrome, another ridiculous and gratuitous attack on LRT from our Mayor. How he can possibly claim to support 'the LRT concept' with a straight face is beyond me:
[Mayor Bratina] managed to sow more confusion about the city's position on Light Rapid Transit by saying it's "not a priority" unless 1 million people move into Hamilton in the next five years.
The same day I read this we passed briefly through Grenoble on our way from Geneva to Paris. I notice that Grenoble, with a metropolitan population of about 400,000, a little smaller than Hamilton's, is currently building their fifth LRT line (line E).
The line is 11.5 km long, passes through four municipalities, has 18 stations and will cost €300 million ($420 million Cdn) to build. They expect 30,000 to 45,000 users per day. Since Grenoble has already built four lines, they should know how to cost them pretty well.
Note also that the construction will take only two years. Grenoble's first line opened in 1987, which means they've been opening new lines at an average rate of one every 6.75 years.
Given that construction costs are certainly much higher in France than in Canada, this suggests that the cost of Hamilton's 13 km line - at about $800 million or €560 million - is highly over-inflated. Using today's exchange rate, Hamilton is costing their line at $61 million per km while Grenoble is $36.5 million per km. This doesn't seem right.