Metrolinx held a press event on Thursday afternoon at the Toronto Board of Trade outlining the next phase of their Big Move project. The initiative, which launched four years ago, first brought Hamilton LRT to the forefront of discussion in the city. Metrolinx CEO Bruce McQuaig spoke about the regional strategy for the project as well as the funding pressures for the regional plan.
“We have to get on with this work as part of our overall regional strategy. We’re planning for the whole region,” McQuaig stated to a crowded room. “This region has long passed the point where we can plan for this transportation system municipality by municipality. There are simply too many connections across our integrated regional economy.”
McQuig outlined five priority projects for the next phase which included the Hamilton LRT line.
“Hamilton light rail transit will change the way people in Hamilton travel connecting key areas such as McMaster university and the downtown core.”
The question of funding for the LRT came up in a recent GIC meeting at city hall. Brad Clark stated his certainty that the province had promised to pay for 100% of the transit line whereas he was now hearing that the project would need to be funded jointly by all levels of government with Hamilton chipping in a third of the costs.
Bruce McQuaig spoke to the funding for the project. “We anticipate the cost of the next wave of projects, as well as the funding for local transit, roads and highways, to be about $34 billion.”
McQuaig was unable to comment on what the exact funding split would be or how much the city would be expected to pay for the project citing that the projects first needed an investment strategy. More information is expected when Metrolinx delivers it’s final report in June.
In other Hamilton transit related news the installation of the wayfinding signage at the downtown MacNab Transit Terminal has been delayed. City spokesperson Kelly Anderson confirmed that the signing has been ordered, but due to the custom build design of the signage, will take up to 18 weeks to be delivered from the manufacturer.
Installation of the signing isn’t expected until sometime in the spring.