By RTH Staff
Published August 08, 2011
On July 21, The Downtown Hamilton Business Improvement Area (BIA) sent a letter, signed by BIA chairman Gerard P. Murphy, to Mayor Bob Bratina and Council to express the BIA's support for light rail transit (LRT).
Mayor Bob Bratina and Members of City Council
City of Hamilton
71 Main St. W.
Mr. Mayor and Members of Council
As you may know the Downtown Hamilton Business Improvement Area (B.I.A.) has been very supportive of the process undertaken to date with respect to the planning and implementation of LRT (Light Rail Transit). The BIA has sent a representative to sit on the RTCAC for the past two years, has circulated LRT information materials to BIA member property owners and businesses and met one on one and in public information meetings with city staff and business owners along the route. We have put a lot of time, energy and expertise into the process thus far.
The BIA has been supportive of the concept of LRT as part of the City and the BIA's vision for city building. We believe that the commercial industry in Hamilton needs an efficient, modern and exciting transit system. The BIA Board of Management is very disappointed with the City's recent decision to lower the priority for LRT planning in favour of a higher priority for all-day Go Service. We believe that All-Day Go Service is also important and that it will come to Hamilton within the next few years. We also believe that LRT needs to continue to be a priority for the City as it will take 5 to 10 years more to plan and build it.
History is repeating itself. It took 35 years to plan and build the Red Hill Expressway and now it looks like we have, as a city, not learned from our past. Vancouver was awarded rail transit several years ago and has now built a second line of higher order transit because of its' progressive thinking. Waterloo has also approved the building of an LRT line. When are we going to be a progressive city like others in Canada.
We encourage Council to continue to push for LRT funding from the Province especially during this critical pre-election period.
Gerard P. Murphy
Following is the response from Mayor Bob Bratina, sent the same day:
It is not our job to "push for LRT funding". It is our job to provide the Province a benefits case that will encourage them to make the investment in Hamilton. That will only come with solid data around capital costs, operating costs, and new revenues derived from the project. If the numbers work, including tax implications for Hamilton residents and businesses, approval will follow. The media suggestion that there is some sort of debate going on is frankly false. Right now Council has nothing upon which to make further decisions, which will now occur thanks to the direction of the City Manager. Otherwise nothing might have happened as late as spring 2012 in terms of Council deliberation.
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