Hamilton LRT project has spent $74 Million.

Simultaneously with the Rob Ford pledge to allow Hamilton to spend the LRT funding as it sees fit we have been hearing various estimates of how much money has been already spent on the project. We asked Metrolinx to give us an update on the Hamilton funding and received the following reply.

Hi John,

As of end of February 2018, we have committed $103 million and of that commitment spent $74 million. This includes expenditures on the project dating back to 2007, including costs to complete the original environmental assessment for the project in 2011, the environmental assessment update in 2017, and staff costs over that time period to present. The committed figure also includes current commitments for consulting contracts to prepare all project design and engineering work, tender documents, and project oversight during the procurement and construction periods; and costs associated with property acquisition, leased spaces, and hard costs such as printing and equipment.

To provide greater detail on the amount spent to date, we have spent approximately $39.5 million on engineering and design consultants, $14 million on City of Hamilton costs that include staffing and consultant fees, $1.5 million on Metrolinx staff costs and $19 million on property acquisitions.

The $29 million in funds that are committed, but not spent, include items such as upset limits on existing consulting contracts for design and engineering work, purchase orders with utility companies for design work, and City staff costs.

Vanessa Barrasa
Spokesperson I Senior Advisor, Media Relations & Issues, Communications & Public Affairs

So $74 Million has been spent, and out of that $19 Million has been spent to acquire property which presumably could be banked and re-sold should the project not proceed. So the sunk cost to date is actually $59 Million. The $29 Million committed but not spent seems to consist of contingencies for consultant cost overruns and other costs like utility relocation that would not be incurred if the project were not to proceed.
To be sure, $59 million is not chump change but it pales in comparison to other government boondoggles like the Billion dollar gas plant fiasco, the Green Energy policy that had driven hydro rates into the stratosphere and the millions spent on the Scarborough LRT before it was scrapped in favour of a one-stop subway line. By the way, the Scarborough LRT was scrapped after the RFP had been issued and an order placed for trains with Bombardier.

Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

7 Comments to: Commentary

  1. jim graham

    April 15th, 2018

    60 million dollars spent without a single demonstrable benefit to the taxpayers of Hamilton. The only “winners” here are those who have been expropriated, receiving opening offers 30% above appraised value.
    Deduct the 60 million from the $1.3B……and cut us a cheque for the balance. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Marshall

    April 21st, 2018

    5% of Ontarians make up for 65% of provincial health care costs attributable to individual care, and the top 1% eats up 33% of provincial health care costs attributable to individual care. Ontario spends around $32 billion annually on individual care, so around $10 billion a year of that is going to serve 1% of the population. There’s your gravy train!

    • Tomas Franco

      April 23rd, 2018


      “A growing and aging population is adding pressure to Ontario’s health-care system and spending isn’t keeping up — a situation that could result in compromised quality of care if left unaddressed, the province’s fiscal watchdog warned Wednesday. In a report issued ahead of the March 28 budget, the Financial Accountability Office said that even with an additional $6.9 billion of planned health spending over the next three years, the province is not keeping up. The FAO said the drivers of annual health-sector spending — the aging and growing population, and inflation — will grow by an average of 4.3 per cent annually, which eclipses the province’s planned 2.9 per cent growth in spending on existing programs.” https://globalnews.ca/news/4082752/ontario-health-spending-aging-population/

      Health care spending is nearly half of every taxpayer dollar spent, but try and hold future health care budgets “planned growth”, or the rate of inflation, let alone freeze them at 2018 levels. Unlikely to happen, though maybe it should.

      • Marshall

        April 24th, 2018

        Q: What percentage of the net provincial debt, projected at $349 billion this year, would Ontario’s government have to pay off before it was able to reallocate the annual payment toward interest rates on that debt, currently estimated at $11 billion?

        A: 100%. In order to have no interest payments, you need to pay off the principal.

        Not running deficit budgets won’t get you there. You need to pay far more every year than just interest.

        It’d be easier to hack the provincial debt back to 2002 levels — you just freeze pay increases across the board and reduce budgets to find $171 billion in efficiencies. Give yourself eight years to do that and you only need to freeze pay increases across the board and make around $22 billion in cuts annually. If you’re determined to pay off the debt in its entirety, you’d need to eliminate around $44 billion in gravy with every budget, plus whatever interest piles up until it’s gone. And until Ontario’s debt is gone, the notion of a “surplus” is illusory.

      • Marshall

        April 26th, 2018

        “The FAO says the drivers of annual health-sector spending — the aging and growing population, and inflation — will grow by an average of 4.3 per cent annually, which eclipses the province’s 2.9 per cent spending on existing programs.”


        “I don’t believe in the word ‘cuts.’ I’ve never said the word ‘cuts,’ but we’re going to find four per cent (in) efficiencies throughout the system”


        4% improvement to health care!

  3. Herman Turkstra

    April 24th, 2018

    I am so tired of the distortion regarding Hydro. A great conservative Premier decided to price hydro at a rate to attract steel and automobile industries. A not-so-great conservative Premier ensured that the system would not be maintained. The chickens came home to roost under Liberal administrations who had to deal with humungous catch up costs. The fable that alternative energy/reduce carbon footprints are the cause of the current high energy prices is mathematically irresponsible. The facts are clear that the alternative sources are not economically sound, but contribute a miniscule amount to the real costs we are now paying. As to the gas plants, Oakville was the right place to put that plant, all parties caved to the local opposition, all parties are recorded on that opposition, the only party held publicly responsible for the costs of that caving in is the Liberal party. That’s politics but its not accurate nor fair. If you assume that we should pay for the government services we receive, then our current cost of hydro is its real cost. When all is said and done, Ontario remains the best place in the world to live and work. Its as if we have a need to whine and complain. The only thing we should be complaining about is that we are not in fact paying for the government services we are receiving and the cure for that is higher taxes. We are substantilly undertaxed and as a result, over indebted. Our grandchildren will thank us for the alternative energy experiments and hold us responsible for the debt.

  4. jim graham

    April 30th, 2018

    finally something resembling candor from Mayor Fred
    ” There is no billion dollars. It is deception. Don’t be fooled”

    You fooled some anonymous subversive misfits, a few anchors, lots of former politicians.
    But not us Fred. We remain the least supportive community to your vision of LRT of any in Ontario.
    Nice try though.
    And in order to avoid you and yours, we will elect him and his, because only you could make him sound reasonable.


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