Comment 121295

By bobby2 (registered) | Posted April 20, 2017 at 13:47:14

Have to admit I'm not totally sure LRT System is a good fit for Hamilton or not? It well may be! I know Raise the Hammer is very pro-LRT & I respect that. I like to offer some opposite views as I believe huge issues always need to be questioned until a reasonable comfort level is achieved. In all honesty, City decisions cannot be approved or declined simply because it only benefits a certain geographic area of the City Ie Centre City Vs Suburb but if it really benefits the City as a whole. I have listened to all the Pros & the Cons from many sources, but what bothers me is, if the project goes South in 2022 or 2023 or 2024, most if not any of the Politicians will not be around & held accountable. Alternatively, it also applies to accolades if the system is a huge success.

 -LRT IS IT WHAT HAMILTON NEEDS OR WANTS OR CAN AFFORD?

Obviously the LRT issue in Hamilton is the top news story & subject to much concern by both Pro-LRT & Anti-LRT groups.

The wheels of the first LRT will not turn until 2024 provided everything goes well & on schedule.

   Sorry, history does count in decisions. Lessons learnt from the Stadium fiasco lead us to believe Hamilton is not the greatest overseer of projects. Another good example but on a lesser scale is Memorial Hall in downtown Waterdown. Oh well, what is a couple of years late amongst friends?:)

Oh yes, the word OVERSEE! 

Recent news of several Senior City Managers total failure to oversee the performance & cost of consultants have led to millions of dollars of tax dollar waste. The Auditor was totally amazed at the lack of oversight by Senior Managers. If you have confidence in the way City Departments & budgets are currently being run after reading the Performance Audit results, you really have to ask yourself why? Council needs to take some immediate action on Managerial Performance as indications lead to the possibility of huge waste of our property tax dollars.

Lets look at a few issues with LRT & you decide for yourself:

  • The current step we are at is for Council to decide to approve the EA (Environmental Assessment). Their decision is being delayed until next Wednesday.

  • The Pro-LRT Group emphasize that failure to approve LRT, the City is giving up a one time gift of $1Billion from the Province to cover Capital costs of the project. Few questions might be:       - How can it be described as a gift, as the Gov't doesn't have money, it's ours, the taxpayers money       - I'm over sixty-five & if I learnt anything over those years, very, very few things are free in life. Why is it Hamilton supposedly gets full Capital costs covered & other Ontario Cities don't/didn't but typically had/have to pay 1/3 of Capital costs? Can't be because Hamilton has so many Liberal MPP's as we have only one. I just find that a little suspicious? Probably, just me & my distrust of Politicians.

      - So, originally  the LRT plan called for a route from Eastgate Mall to McMaster University. Seemed to make sense if you are going to build this system. That got changed now from the nowhere destination of Queenston Circle to McMaster University. Who on earth thought that made sense?

      - What is the answer to the question of- We get half or three quarters through the project & discover to complete it will go millions & millions over budget. Remember, Hamilton & Liberal history on projects & overseeing costs:) What happens? Does project get downsized? Do Property taxpayers shell out the millions of overcost dollars? Just asking.

      - What will the Operation & Maintenance costs be to Property Tax Payers? The Pro-LRT say it will be less than the bus system? Remember the history of City Senior Manager's overseeing performance & costs? Judi Partridge would also like the answer to this question. By the way,       - What will be the cost to ride the LRT & how much will taxpayers have to subsidize the new system? The current HSR Bus Service charges:                  - McMaster Students- $151.00 ANNUALLY for unlimited rides-Really?                  - Presto Senior Annual Pass- $265.00                  - Normal Monthly Pass/Presto $101.20 or 12X= $1214.40 ANNUALLY Make your own judgements.

   -Did you know the current design provides for overhead wires connected to the LRT Train. Sounds like a glorified Street Car to me! Oh, should not of said that. Hmmm, last I heard , cost of Hydro in Ontario was a big issue? Ok,Ok, details, details.

    - Did you know the route time improvement of LRT vs Bus is 2 minutes. Hmm??? $1B to gain 2 minutes on a route? However, reliability is improved as LRT runs on dedicated rail lines so should stay on schedule stormy days etc..

   - What happens to the businesses along the route during several years of construction? The Pro-LRT say only two businesses closed during Waterloo LRT project. Will the same apply to Hamilton? I know, I'll simply avoid downtown entirely during construction because traffic will be a zoo. Yikes, kinda glad I don't own a business on the route.

  • The LRT System will have 14 stops with distance between stops of 600-800 metres. For the older generation that's 1200 to 2400 feet apart. Seems pretty far apart but Mayor Fred says walking is good exercise:)  Not sure, if you have two toddlers & six bags of groceries & your street is half way between stops & then another block or two down the street to get to your house.

  • I've read that several people ask why the $1B can't go towards a Rapid Bus System? Probably cost much less than $1B, don't have to tear up roads, Buses much easier to purchase, system can be put into place in half the time & routes can easily be changed due to changing demands & demographic- Did you know HSR Ridership declined by 435,000 trips in 2016? Yet, we want to build a $1B system to improve capacity before demand stats prove it's need? Oh ya, build it & they will come:)

  • Pro-LRT supporters say the future of Hamilton totally depends on building the LRT System. Without it, development will disappear, demand for homes & talent driven jobs will dissolve to zero. Hamilton will wither away. I agree, a fancy Transit System with shiny paint, bright lights will attract a certain faction of people but would they come anyway as downtown Hamilton much more affordable than GTA & believe it or not, there are a lot of nice areas in Hamilton. And, many, if not most, no where near the proposed LRT Route.

  • Park & Ride lots. Did you know, most Cities with LRT Systems have several Park & Ride lots along the route. Hamilton LRT System has planned ZERO LOTS! OMG!

   - Oh ya, what about Area Transit Rating System. Elimination will cost many several hundreds of dollars extra each year in Property Taxes over & above normal annual increases in most suburbs .

Sam Merulla Center City Councillor threaten last year to push for it's elimination if other Councillors didn't support LRT. He later dropped that threat.

However, it was quietly decided to leave the issue of elimination for the next elected Council in 2018.

Comment edited by bobby2 on 2017-04-20 13:49:48

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