Special Report: Light Rail

Councillor Wilson Requests Ontario Government LRT Cost Analysis

Hamilton's Ward 1 Councillor has requested a copy of the 'third party analysis' that formed the basis for the Ontario Government's sudden decision to cancel the Hamilton Light Rail Transit project.

By Ryan McGreal
Published December 17, 2019

When the Ontario Government abruptly canceled Hamilton's light rail transit (LRT) project yesterday, Transport Minister Caroline Mulroney referenced a 'third party analysis' that estimated the project cost had ballooned to $5.5 billion, an astonishing number that spurred widespread incredulity.

It's difficult to imagine that the Ontario Government's Hamilton LRT numbers are credible. They claim the capital cost will be $3.62 billion and the operating cost over 30 years will be another $1.934 billion - or $64.46 million a year. That is utterly absurd.

In response, Hamilton Ward 1 Councillor Maureen Wilson has written to Minister Mulroney to request a copy of the analysis that formed the basis for this determination.

Wilson's letter reads:

The Honourable Caroline Mulroney
Minister of Transportation
Government of Ontario

Dear Madam Minister:

I am writing to formally request a copy of the third party analysis of the Hamilton LRT project as referenced by you in your CHML interview with Mr. Bill Kelly this morning. The content of that analysis and the methodology used in the project assessment are of great interest to me and all Hamiltonians.

Since the analysis formed the basis of you and your Government’s decision with respect to Hamilton’s LRT I trust you will share it publicly. I would request a copy of this report by Friday, December 20th. If need be, I will travel into your Office to retrieve the report.

Maureen Wilson

It will be interesting to see whether and how Minister Mulroney responds. The timing of yesterday's decision is particularly bizarre and unexpected, given that the Province was consulting positively with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce just last week and the Province was expected to receive the final construction bids through the Request for Proposals (RFP) process this coming March.

Editor's Note: Hamilton Light Rail has launched a new campaign calling on Hamiltonians to send Premier Ford a message calling in him to fix Minister Mulroney's mistake and get the Hamilton LRT back on track. Please join the call to action and make your voice heard.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.

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By positive1@cogeco.ca (registered) | Posted December 18, 2019 at 15:05:01

Good for you Councillor Wilson. Their numbers stink worse than Sewergate. If they have an ounce of credibility, they will show them to you. However, when you include the operating costs over 30 years, the fix is in. Not creative accounting but blatantly dishonest and shameful. PCs are not worried. They don't have any shame after what they did to the Basic Income Pilot (they promised not to cancel) which they cancelled, nor the screw-ups (continuing daily) on the autism file.

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