It's been some time since we've released an episode of "As Hamilton Twists and Turns" but with the inspiration of LRT, we thought it was time.
In this episode "the one with the billion dollars" we find Mayor Eisenberger shooting himself in the foot with his Clint Eastwood style edict "Put up or shut up", intended to call his council to commit to LRT or else put a cork in it. It turns out the Mayor had to turn the cork around and recall his words, adding his regret for the phrasing.
Meanwhile Light Rail advocates sense turbulence and reignite a call to action, reminding others of the decision points and debates already exhausted. It's groundhog day all over again according to them, while far from the glare of an election, some politicians engage in what appears to be a rethink.
LRT champion Ryan McGreal appears on The Hamiltonian, re-explaining the evolution of this issue and the anticipated benefits of proceeding. He'd later call the questions posed, "pointed".
With one billion dollars on the line (pardon the pun), some appear miffed that the issue is even being debated while others appear to be making room for what they perceive to be a giant white elephant coming our way.
So what to do, in light of all this? Call a referendum? Wait, no. Not a referendum. Let's kick the can and delay the vote for a few months, sending troubling messages to the Premier in terms of a solidified and final commitment to LRT.
Current Transit Director, Dave Dixon, soon to be flying the coop in favour of a new position elsewhere, in an interview with The Hamiltonian, says the following "Operational economies of scale are directly proportional to ridership – ie. rail has much higher operational costs per hour than bus, but also has the potential to carry a far greater number of customers (through train-lining) – so cost per customer will vary depending on what ridership ultimately materializes." likely creating worry lines on several foreheads (cue Botox ad).
And in an op ed in The Hamiltonian, we find this statement "And with that comes the political problem with this particular transformation effort. If we accept the premise that LRT is not a response to a universal feeling of disharmony with a present condition, it will be understood as a choice made by politicians to move toward a heavier investment in public transit at the expense of available road space to drivers of vehicles."
Will Hamilton City Council move forward with LRT? Will the vote be deferred again? Do we have the necessary ridership for ROI purposes? Will the Mayor prevail? Can the 1 Billion be repurposed or it is strapped to LRT? When will it all appear on Netflix?
Stay tuned and find out as this episode of As Hamilton Twists and turns concludes.
Cue the tape (preview of next episode appears) Fade to black as Clr. Whitehead is seen standing and making a point......