Comment 111777

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 27, 2015 at 08:16:48

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce issued the following press release yesterday:

Hamilton Chamber of Commerce applauds the Province of Ontario's $1.2 Billion Capital Investment Light Rail Transit system and new GO Station in Hamilton.

Hamilton, ON, May 26th, 2015: The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is overjoyed by this morning's announcement by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne that the Province of Ontario has committed to funding approximately $1.2 Billion in the City of Hamilton to cover 100% of the capital costs of the B-Line Light Rail line and a new GO Station at Centennial Street.

The project is expected to run along the B-Line corridor from McMaster University to Queenston traffic circle on an additional link to the new West Harbour GO Station; with plans to eventually expand it to Eastgate square. The funding is a portion of the approximately $15 billion in funding allocated to the GTHA for projects as part of their Big Move Strategy. Procurement for the LRT will start in 2017, with construction starting in 2019.

"The Chamber, its board and its membership are ecstatic with today's $1.2 billion investment to lock in and in fact accelerate Hamilton's economic revival." said Keanin Loomis, President & CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. "The Province of Ontario has shown significant leadership and faith in our community by embracing the business case for LRT in Hamilton. A lot of work still remains, but it's our turn as a city to coalesce and create the conditions necessary to maximize the economic uplift."

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and its membership have had a long-standing interest in the LRT file. Comprising private businesses, business improvement areas, public sector institutions, three Hamilton City Councillors, the Hamilton-Halton Homebuilders' Association and the Realtors' Association of Hamilton-Burlington, the Chamber established its LRT Task Force in early 2012 to:

  • Provide a business assessment of the B-Line LRT project that the City has been advancing;
  • Provide input and perspective on funding options for the project; and,
  • Develop and execute a government relations and community engagement plan in support of the project.

Through subsequent meetings the LRT Task Force comprehensively evaluated available academic and government research. Two documents in particular - the City of Hamilton's Rapid Ready Report and The North American Light Rail Experience: Insights for Hamilton study from the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics (MITL) - greatly informed the LRT Task Force's ultimate determination that there is a strong business case for the B-Line LRT project in accelerating economic revitalization of Hamilton.

"Enhanced regional connectivity through increased GO service at West Harbor and Centennial will also create economic uplift. Today's announcements are necessary and very balanced infrastructural investments in our community." added Loomis.

Through numerous letters and submissions, as well as meetings with elected officials at all levels of government, the Chamber has been a longstanding advocate for building up Hamilton's high order transportation infrastructure.

The Chamber will reconvene its LRT Task Force to discuss how businesses and public sector institutions can help get this project across the finish line.

Established in 1845, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is the definitive "Voice of Hamilton Business". Representing over 1000 members and 75,000 employees, it champions the interests of free enterprise by effectively engaging business, community, and government leaders in the promotion of the long-term economic prosperity of our region.

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