Comment 46930

By Francis (anonymous) | Posted August 31, 2010 at 21:45:28

What you have to remember is that we're not being given $800 million "to do with as we want". Similarly we are not receiving money from the feds and the province to "do as we want" for the Pan Am Stadium. The money is contingent on certain uses. You seem to realize this towards the end of your article, but in the beginning you talk as if we could spend it on whatever we wanted.

I don't think Hamilton is rushing into this blindly. Hamilton staff, as well as Metrolinx staff, have prepared reports, engaged the citizens, and the citizens have spoken with a much more unanimous voice than the recent stadium debate. People want LRT, they think the time is right, and they are happy to take provincial money towards it.

You have a valid point in being worried about what it will cost the city. At this point though, I think any argument is really premature, because we don't know how much, if anything the province will sponsor, how mcuh the city will have to kick in, who will pay operating costs, etc. etc. We also need to see what will happen to revenues with the new line. Will more people take the LRT? Will people be wooed by the more efficient service? We'll have to wait and see.

I'd also like to note that the surveys city staff did included questions regarding what residents thought of the costs being borne 50% by the city, 25% by the city, and other questions along those lines. That should give them a sense of when people prefer LRT to BRT, and when people lose their appetite for LRT and BRT as the proportion of costs escalate. So wasn't just a question of LRT v. BRT that had Hamiltonians voting for the aesthetic, and I seriously doubt that city staff, or councillors for that matter, are so naive that they would not consider the difference in cost to the city, especially given city finances. So your caution is welcome, but I think ultimately unnecessary. This thing WILL be studied to death.

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