Special Report: Light Rail

Light Rail Transit Support Letters from Area MP, MPPs

Letters from seven Hamilton-area MPs and MPPs from two different political parties call on Council to re-affirm its support for the LRT project currently underway.

By RTH Staff
Published June 21, 2016

A letter signed by six Hamilton-area MPs and MPPs from two different political parties calls on Hamilton City Council to "re-affirm its commitment to continue working with Metrolinx on the $1-billion, fully-funded-by-the-province" light rail transit system.

The letter is signed by NDP MPs David Christopherson of Hamilton Centre and Scott Duvall of Hamilton Mountain, Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin of Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale and NDP MPPs Andrea Horwath of Hamilton Centre, Paul Miller of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek and Monique Taylor of Hamilton Mountain.

Setting partisanship aside, the undersigned write that LRT "will be a great benefit and building it is the right thiing to do for our community."

The letter notes the many benefits of LRT: new investments and jobs, economic uplift, rising property assessment, improved employment opportunities and better connection among Hamiltonians and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. "Our great city will, without doubt, become even greater."

That letter comes just a few days after another letter written by Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas MP Filomena Tassi, which celebrates Council's previous votes in support of LRT and calls on Council to "move the dialogue forward with all three levels of government and provide Hamilton with the best decisions for future planning."

The letter also announces the federal commitment of $120 billion in infrastructure investment over ten years with an emphasis on socially supportive and environmentally sustainable projects.

The objectives for the federal funding "include supporting projects that will revitalize and grow our economy, protect our communities from the very real impacts of climate change and support the social integration and inclusion of everyone in our communities."

Following is the text of the letter from six MPs and MPPs:

Open letter from Hamilton MPs & MPPs

We, the undersigned Members of Parliament and Members of Provincial Parliament, believe that Light Rail Transit will be a great benefit and building it is the right thing to do for our community.

LRT will attract new investment and new jobs. It will mean rising property values and assessments, which will benefit everyone in the city. It will mean significant economic uplift, not only for the downtown, but for the entire city. The LRT will link communities together, connecting people with employment opportunities across the entire city. LRT will help to connect Hamiltonians and build a cohesive community across neighbourhoods.

An LRT in Hamilton, will change the way people commute, encouraging them to leave their fossil fuel burning cars at home which will help to reduce GHG emissions and the city's carbon footprint. We must do everything we can to fight climate change and light rail transit is an essential part of a carbon emission reduction strategy.

In short, LRT will only accelerate what everyone already senses: that there is increasing energy and vitality in Hamilton. Our great city will, without doubt, become even greater.

Council naturally has very legitimate questions, and will continue to throughout the life of this initiative, since not every question can be answered immediately due to its large scope and necessarily complicated implementation. We appreciate its vigilance.

We urge Council to re-affirm its commitment to continue working with Metrolinx on the $1-billion, fully-funded-by-the-province, LRT initiative.

Respectfully,

David Christopherson, MP
Hamilton Centre

Scott Duvall, MP
Hamilton Mountain

Andrea Horwath, MPP
Hamilton Centre

Ted McMeekin, MPP
Ancaster-Flamborough-Ancaster-Westdale

Paul Miller, MPP
Hamilton East-Stoney Creek

Monique Taylor, MPP
Hamilton Mountain

Following is the text of Tassi's letter:

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Open Letter from Filomena Tassi, MP Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas

I am proud to be a Hamilton Member of Parliament and proudly supportive of our government's plan to invest $120 billion in infrastructure over the next 10 years. This targets investments in public transit and green and social infrastructure.

It will create good jobs, make our communities better places to live, and it will grow the middle class.

As the Prime Minister stated in his speech to representatives of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) earlier this month, this is "a plan that adjusts to each and every community. It is a plan that gives communities themselves the power to make crucial decisions."

We are focused on giving municipal governments and local stakeholders decision making powers because, as he stated to the FCM, "you know what your communities need. We can't tell you whether you need light rail or subways, better bridges or climate resilient infrastructure. That's your job as municipal leaders - to tell us what you need, and how the federal government can help."

So what role will the federal government play? We will set objectives for investment.

Those objectives include supporting projects that will revitalize and grow our economy, protect our communities from the very real impacts of climate change and support the social integration and inclusion of everyone in our communities.

Whether it be the discussion on the plans for the LRT here in Hamilton or any other ambitious project for green and social infrastructure, I have full confidence in our local leaders - be they elected or simply passionately engaged as citizens - to move the dialogue forward with all three levels of government and provide Hamilton with the best decisions for future planning.

I am very proud to say that I support Hamilton City Council's several successful resolutions that choose LRT as a way forward for improved transit infrastructure in our great and thriving city.

Sincerely,

Filomena Tassi
Member of Parliament, Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas

8 Comments

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By ref_erendum (registered) | Posted June 22, 2016 at 16:04:32

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Comment edited by ref_erendum on 2016-06-22 16:06:25

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By ref_erendum (registered) | Posted June 24, 2016 at 09:42:35 in reply to Comment 119517

Please read Karl Andrus report yesterday ! "Meanwhile, the anti-rapid transit predictions of the downtown core decaying into a wasteland did indeed become true. However, the unbuilt rapid transit system itself can hardly be blamed. IF NOT WHAT IS ? (Today, due to the dedication of active citizens, members of our arts community and forward-thinking city officials, the downtown is undergoing a renaissance.) BUT THE ART COMMUNITY CANNOT SUSTAIN THE DOWN TOWN CORE ! Unfortunately the City has made no effort in bringing people to the down town every effort is made to create traffic congestion within Hamilton with recreational bike lanes and two way streets. Ask and motorist dealing with traffic within the city core and they will tell more congestion and travel time have increased with the dismantling of a once effective traffic system. One example is Buffalo but if you like I can give you more cities that have lost the heart of their down town to LRT's This is not untrue sadly you are misinformed and must belong to this new LRT "Think Group" all spouting the identical nonsense. Fact 1. We will absorb all the costs for generations for the maintenance and upkeep of the LRT with a big fat zero of money generated to operate this white elephant. I wish I could sustain a business with no income and rely on the taxpayers to keep me alive. 2. Every home and business in the LRT corridor will be affected in a negative manner with the exception of all the speculators investing heavily on King Street. Sir I do not fabricate Facts I just question crystal ball predictions by LRT organized "Think Groups" and the Government representatives and business speculators. This entire project is not needed with a ridership of 400 per hour and until our ridership is there we do not need to waste money on any kind of sparkling toys .

Comment edited by ref_erendum on 2016-06-24 09:45:45

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By ref_erendum (registered) | Posted June 24, 2016 at 10:43:19 in reply to Comment 119556

Only common sense could tell you that eliminating automobiles down town will reduce the volume of traffic. Paying for parking is another way besides bicycle lanes and reducing King street to two lanes of traffic east and west. The LRT is not the answer to move forwards in this city. Last nights BIA on James the gentlemen clearly stated the the Maintenance and upkeep of the LRT will fall into the city's responsibility and the revenue will go to a third party Metrolinx. E

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted June 24, 2016 at 11:04:32 in reply to Comment 119557

No one is talking about "eliminating automobile traffic downtown". The LRT would reduce King street two lanes. That's the extent of the reduction in automobile traffic. (On James the LRT will run in mixed traffic and so will not reduce the number of lanes). Main Street will still have five lanes, although will likely have two-way traffic. Every other downtown street other than King will have the same number of lanes it does now.

Metrolinx and city staff have confirmed that operational details of LRT still need to be negotiated and there is no scenario under which the City would maintain and operate the LRT, but the revenues would go to a third party! Why would a third party receive revenue for doing nothing?

Please stop misinterpreting and making things up.

Here is what the manager, Community/Stakeholder Relations and Communications Rapid Transit, Capital Projects Group, METROLINX says about operations and revenue:

From: Kelsey Ewart

Kelsey.Ewart@metrolinx.com

At this time no decisions have been made regarding responsibilities for operations and maintenance costs, and will be determined through a future agreement between the City and the Province - likely over the coming months.

Kelsey Ewart

Manager, Community/Stakeholder Relations and Communications Rapid Transit, Capital Projects Group | METROLINX

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-06-24 11:07:23

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By ref_erendum (registered) | Posted June 24, 2016 at 11:26:24 in reply to Comment 119556

"Why do you think people are investing in King Street, if you insist that LRT will be unsuccessful? You can't have it both ways."

RIGHT NOW WITH THE HOPES OF RESELLING THEIR INVESTMENTS TO THE CITY. Clearly properties have risen by the local developers buying up buildings to make a profit. If any one of these investors know where the bumpouts are to be then their expropriated properties become more valuable to sell back. Really how naive can some people be ?

"This is another of your repeated false facts that has no bearing on reality. The LRT corridor carries 30,000 passengers a day - do the math!"

Mr Dixon did the math and apparently the LRT Think Group likes to inflate numbers.( I may not have seen Metrolinx and the City's revised report after Mr.Dixon's departure.) Nothing is false about the facts presented by Mr. Dixon.

"the construction period will be challenging, as road reconstructions always are. The long-term benefits more than outweigh the short-term disruptions."

Long term benefits? Two lanes on a major thoroughfare thru Hamilton with 42% of the B line revenue disappearing. And clearly stated last night at the James street BIA meeting that ALL revenue goes to Metrolinx and ALL maintenance and up keep falls on the shoulders of Hamilton taxpayers. Did you not attend the public meeting on Rapid Transit last night @ the James street BIA.? As all your comments would have been reclarified because of your misinformation to date.

Your LRt Think Group clearly supports Metrolinx and their poor deal to the taxpayers of Hamilton. If this is such a good deal why not put this to a referendum. And let the people decide. Apparently council has not done a good job living up to "The Ambitious City " monniker.

Please note Portlands LRT FIASCO.

“The most confused you will ever get is when you try to convince your heart and spirit of something your mind knows is a lie.” ― Shannon L. Alder

Comment edited by ref_erendum on 2016-06-24 11:29:06

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By ref_erendum (registered) | Posted June 25, 2016 at 09:13:35

"Metrolinx and city staff have confirmed that operational details of LRT still need to be negotiated and there is no scenario under which the City would maintain and operate the LRT, but the revenues would go to a third party!" ( Third party meaning a Metrolinx Division collecting revenues from our b line .

Apparently you skipped the line that said "Municipalities are already struggling to pick up the year to year operational costs" for transit. I guess Hamilton is on that exemption list. THE DETAILS MAY NOT BE IRONED OUT BUT THE SCENARIO HOLDS TRUE IN EVERY CASE TO DATE

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/673837...

These comments simply don't fall from the sky and are not scripted by supporters of the LRT.

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By ref_erendum (registered) | Posted June 25, 2016 at 11:32:53 in reply to Comment 119562

http://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/inde...

"But a new “Future of Transportation” analysis of U.S. Census data conducted by Yonah Freemark, project manager at Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago, raises some serious questions about TriMet’s decision to invest so heavily in light rail over the past three decades.

Writing for The Atlantic Cities, known for its unabashed advocacy of mass transit, Freemark says “it doesn’t take much digging” to realize that light-rail systems built with billions of taxpayer dollars in Portland and four other cities since the 1980s have not lived up to their promises.

“These initial five systems in themselves neither rescued the center cities of their respective regions nor resulted in higher transit use — the dual goals of those first-generation lines,” he writes."

I don't make these stories up as we carry on this conversation simply showing the reality of predicting all of these wonderful attributes of an LRT. Simply put it is a waste of tax dollars only for the HOPE of increasing ridership on these lines. And I Say HOPE ! How many generations do we need to make it worth while to take people out of their cars. I don't know about you but I enjoy my independence.

Comment edited by ref_erendum on 2016-06-25 11:34:10

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By ref_erendum (registered) | Posted June 25, 2016 at 11:35:56 in reply to Comment 119557

I should correct myself in saying "reducing" the flow of traffic . And no by adding an LRT will not increase traffic as LRT proponets want to think.

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