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Thursday, February 16, 2017

LRT- an Oh My moment?

LRT continues to present a myriad of conversations and challenges, in a way fairly typical of a project this large. To date, in the face of these challenges, camps have become apparent and tough questions continue to be asked by some. 

Is it unusual that something this big would cause angst, divisiveness and deviations from original plan? Not really. It would be remarkable and arguably impossible to think otherwise. 

And while the camps are clear and there appears no sign of individuals becoming dislodged from their entrenched positions. today, as reported in the Hamilton Spectator (click here to go there or purchase today's print copy), Clr. Merulla has indicated that he plans to bring forward a motion asking Metrolinx to estimate the latest cost to the city if the project were abandoned. 

Your thoughts? Do you support the Clr.'s intended query and are we at a place that we need to understand this sooner than later, or do you remain confident that LRT will prevail in Hamilton? 

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12 comments:

  1. 70 million (and counting) without a single tangible benefit to transit users or taxpayers.
    1 million to determine whether we collectively agree.

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  2. Metrolinx can only comment on the procedural costs that have been incurred to date. Then there's the whiplash the City will get from pro-LRT developers. And of course there's the unknowable cost of a municipality advocating strenuously for a massive investment from senior government, getting it, then trying to derail it. Political capital is unquantifiable and it won't soon be wasted on a city that behaves with such petty self-interest and deranged entitlement.

    Quod Erat

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    Replies
    1. interesting how both camps accuse the other of "petty self interest, and deranged entitlement."
      but only one camp warns of whiplash from unknowable costs

      Euclid

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    2. How else to explain a council that has articulated this as a strategic infrastructure priority for the last 10 years, only to decide to perform due diligence heading into an election year? Better yet, what's their In-house strategy for achieving the goals of the Transportation Master Plan (specifically 80-100 rides per capita & 20% reduction in automobile use) without using a tax levy to fund more buses on Hamilton streets? Or, overlooking that matter, how they plan to explain how they failed to ask the basic questions that now cause them disquiet at a juncture in this multi-generational undertaking?
      You would have to be a child to expect that there is no local contribution to a $1.1B infrastructure project. We went 50:50 on the RHVP, and LRT is the capital equivalent of four RHVPs. We kicked in a third of the cost if Tim Hortons Field, and this is the. Spiral equivalent of seven such stadia. The Woodward Ave upgrade was two-thirds locally borne cost; LRT is the capital equivalent of two such wastewater plants. It's a critical failing that the Ward boundary debate proves yet again: Council is too fixated on keeping up their soundbites and thinking in three-year increments to have the capacity for long-term strategy. LRT is just a catalyst that exposes the dysfunction and myopia that makes council so excruciating to follow. They hold the city back because it makes their lives less complicated. Forget the Ambitious City -- they're building the Ambivalent City.

      Quod Erat

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    3. Captain HamiltonFebruary 16, 2017

      "Council is too fixated on keeping up their soundbites and thinking in three-year increments"
      Agreed. Without term limits you get the recycled.

      The Captain

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    4. your explanation of "due diligence" is accurate, and would be my choice, and I suspect most support the practice. I would also discourage those tasked with making these decisions from taking direction from anonymous advocates.
      We are in agreement that you would have to be fairly gullible to believe the Mayor and "his panel" that any of this is going to be free. And "free" was the only pre-condition for Council support. Those questions were asked-and answered.
      We need roads, we wanted a stadium. LRT has nothing in common with either.

      Euclid

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    5. "you would have to be a child to expect there is no local contribution to $1.1B infrastructure project"
      it should be good fun watching Councilor Ferguson rationalize his support for something approaching a 20% tax increase phased in over 3 years to his constituents. In order to provide an option to dwindling transit users. It will make the Assize look like a garden party.
      And that leaves Fred and the 4 freebies, in a rickety skiff in choppy seas. How long before one of them is voted off the boat?

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  3. Sam M is really only interested in perpetuating the false claim that we cant change the transit deal to suit Hamiltons needs. This is an ongoing issue of strong arm tactics and deception to push this project to a point of no return. Im not impressed

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    1. Agreed. I was intrigued by Sam's conspicuous absence at the big BRT announcement with Minister Del Duca last week. Was he not invited? Declined to attend? Not like Sam to miss a photo-op. I cant help but wonder if their is trouble in paradise.

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  4. I think council should fold this up and concentrate on a BRT v-based plan- even if it means starting over.

    This all comes down to leadership. Anyone who drives a big complication endeavor to fruition, knows that there will be battles, surprises and disasters along the way. But the steadfastness prevails because they have what it takes and know what it takes.

    Council does not have any of that and their record is quite the opposite. So, it is best that they pack this up.
    Sorce

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    1. If you think council wants BRT I refer you to Exhibit W, Councillor Whitehead, who clamoured for A-Line BRT until it was embraced as a strategic direction by the MTO and Metrolinx. From the province's perspective, BRT means transitways and transit-dedicated lanes. It means possibly widening mountain streets like Upper James to make that politically palatable. IT likely means closing James Mountain Road to all but transit and emergency vehicles or taking a lengthy detour up the Claremont. It would mean years of EAs and PICs. And after all if that, it is far from clear that the City would be off the hook for costs. That said, if they can't find it in themselves to back higher-order transit infrastructure, there is only one way to achieve the transit aims of the Transportation Action Plan: Double the size of the HSR, likely on the municipal dime.

      This is a council that prefers window dressing solutions. It will be interesting to see them try and sell the $300M+ in municipal infrastructure spend, as yet unbudgetes, required by the AEGD, a proposal that (compared with LRT) met with almost no public debate.

      Sigma Cub

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  5. The argument that this is what the councillor asked for is a misrepresentation of his actual ask which was "Should we have considered an A and B Bus Rapid Transit Lines instead of a single B Light Rail for a Billion Dollars?"

    Since 2008, Light Rail Technology has been council's preferred Rapid Transit on both the A and B lines. Yet, now buses are good enough for the scrubs on the mountain. And who knows who is paying for this?

    If you even go back in time to just last November, you will see council ratified Sam Merulla's motion which specifically directed staff to talk to Metrolinx about acquiring "LRT A-Line". "Light Rail Transit on the A line". Not considerations, not expedited improvements, not anything you read in the MSM, but actual LRT on the A-line. But they don't know what they voted on, as long as it doesn't interfere with their shiny pony downtown project.

    I really hope Merulla puts forth his motion asking Metrolinx. Without a committment to operating and maintenance costs, cutting ties now may save of many millions of dollars that ultimately could just be wasted so the second-class citizens can feel first-class. Let's get the info, at least.

    Gabriel

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