NDP leader Andrea Horwath has done an apparent about-face  on provincial transit funding for LRT. In an editorial board meeting with the Hamilton Spectator this week she said she would support provincial funding  for Bus Rapid Transit if that was the wish of Hamilton Council.  An audio clip is available on the following link to the Hamilton Spectator website. HERE

This morning Horwath reversed her position completely with the following news release:

Horwath: LRT is the right way forward for our city By: Andrea Horwath, Leader of Ontario’s NDP

I want to be completely clear: I support the Hamilton LRT project and I’ll fight like hell to make it happen.

Our city is growing. And we need a transit system that will drive our economy forward and improve the quality of life for Hamiltonians – and make our days and commutes smoother. The Hamilton LRT project will be a vital part of that transit system.

That’s why I have been an outspoken advocate for this project for two decades. As a Hamilton city councillor, I championed

light rail as the best transit option to support growth and vibrancy in our city.

Both as an MPP and as Leader of Ontario’s NDP, I have gone to the mat again and again in support of the LRT.

I’ve pushed the Liberal government to provide clear confirmation of the province’s support for the project and pressured them to commit to the secure funding that was necessary to see it through. I fought them when they decided to truncate the east end of the line and delay the start of construction. Should Ontario people elect me to serve as premier, my position will be no different than it has been for the last 20 years: Hamilton is getting an LRT, and there will be no more delays.

It’s right there in my platform – in black white and orange – “we’ll build Hamilton’s long-awaited LRT. Waffling on this project equals more delays on this project — and Hamilton can’t wait any longer.” We’ve set aside $1 billion to get shovels in the ground right away.

There have been more than 60 votes approving the project over the past 10 years. The position of Hamilton city council is

clear. The position of Hamilton families is clear. LRT is the best way forward.

This city has long needed a partner at Queens Park with the courage to get the Hamilton LRT project moving. I promise to

be that partner.

 

Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

10 Comments to: Horwath does quick U-Turn on LRT

  1. jim graham

    May 19th, 2018

    Andrea supported this plan to replace existing union jobs with non union outsiders, and to her credit, she still does. Andrea think it is swell that hundreds of tree’s at street level along the route-all of them actually-will have to be destroyed in order to accommodate her vision. Construction chaos? Bring it.
    Travel time savings? Who cares.
    We know what Andrea thinks….sort of….kind of…..we know she couldn’t care less what the people of Hamilton think.
    Referendum? Naw.

    That billion you’ve “set aside?” Good thinking, now hand it over.

    Reply
    • Hart Solomon

      May 21st, 2018

      The City of Hamilton spent around $100M on roadwork in 2018, so $1B makes for 10 times the usual roadwork and several years worth of construction chaos. Luckily, we’ll all be travelling alone in self-crashing pods by the time the shovels go in the ground, so we can relax and let the robots do the driving.

      Pity, however, that the $1B has been earmarked for subway service to Scarborough Town Centre.

      Or, you know, simulating a “balanced budget”.

      “Ontario’s Liberal government has created a legal loophole that would allow it to divert money away from transit construction.

      During the June election, Premier Kathleen Wynne repeatedly promised to sell off government assets – such as buildings, land and parts of government-owned electricity companies – and put the money into the Trillium Trust, a new fund dedicated to paying for transit.

      But the legislation governing the Trillium Trust gives Ms. Wynne’s cabinet and Treasury Board the executive power to decide how much revenue from asset sales, if any, is actually put in the Trust. This allows the government to choose to redirect the money away from transit and into other spending files.

      …critics charge the law still gives cabinet too much freedom to do what it wants with the money. And the cash-strapped government could be tempted to use some of the funds to erase its $12.5-billion deficit instead of building transit.

      “The law is certainly not open and transparent,” Progressive Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli said. “It’s going to be very tempting for them to use asset sales to balance the budget.”

      https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/wynne-cabinet-builds-in-option-to-drain-ontario-transit-funds/article21154051/

      Reply
  2. jim graham

    May 22nd, 2018

    $1.4 Billion Accounting error.
    Ooopsey.
    So math isn’t Andrea’s strong suit.
    Neither is public transit “yes I will, no I wont” At least she’ll have municipal politics to fall back on…..looks like there will be an opening in Ward 7

    Reply
    • Oversight

      May 25th, 2018

      … compared to a $16B shortfall in Ford’s transit promises. Which makes them either ruinous or empty.

      https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2018/05/11/doug-fords-transit-plans-just-the-latest-example-of-the-cost-and-chaos-politicians-seeking-votes-visit-on-torontos-transit-users.html

      iPolitics: Ford tosses promise of a costed platform (April 6)
      CTV: Ford is promising a fully costed plan before the Ontario election (April 26)
      CBC: Doug Ford says he’ll release fully costed platform before election / Progressive Conservative leader, speaking in rural southwestern Ontario Wednesday, didn’t give a specific date (May 23)
      CTV: Doug Ford says he’ll release fully costed platform before the election (May 24)

      Whatever you think of the math, the NDP respected taxpayers enough to release its platform before the campaign officially began — almost two months before they cast their vote.

      With 13 days left on the clock, who knows when we’ll be able to see if the PCs even have a platform, or if the Ford plan is about buying more than votes and time?

      Reply
      • jim graham

        May 25th, 2018

        “either ruinous or empty” Empty, as empty as the BCA for Hamilton’s LRT.
        Hollow, nugatory, meaningless.
        The NDP respected the taxpayer enough to demonstrate their collective incompetence.
        D’oh

        Reply
      • Marshall

        May 27th, 2018

        The airhead math peddled by the Ford PCs is by no means limited to transit. It has become a defining characteristic of the party. Every single promise to which they attach a dollar figure is wildly out of whack with reality.

        Ottawa Citizen, May 24 2018:

        “Time is running out on Ford to lay out in clear detail where he wants to take Ontario, and how he intends to get there. He promised from day one and hasn’t delivered – and he promised once again Wednesday – to unveil a costed platform. He must release one now because we can’t have someone for premier who won’t tell us what he’s going to do, how he is going to do it and how his plans would affect us.

        Whatever you think of Premier Kathleen Wynne or NDP leader Andrea Horwath, you can’t claim ignorance of what their plans are, and how they might affect you. Both leaders will spend billions of dollars to provide the kind of services they believe Ontarians need.

        To that they will borrow and run deficits. There will be a lot of red ink. Some voters may find this unacceptable, others may not. But the plans and consequences are clear for all to see, debate and decide. When New Democrats miscalculated and left a $700 million hole in their projections, the mistake was caught because the figures were out there for all to dissect. Not Ford, however.

        So far, the Progressive Conservative leader has run something of a stealth campaign, one cloaked in bombast, populism and concealment. He has spoken constantly about putting money in people’s pockets but doesn’t say where he’ll find it or at what cost. He makes huge spending announcements and promises and then brushes off any questions about how he would pay for them or make up the inevitable revenue losses.

        Ford’s major promises include eliminating the carbon tax, cutting income tax and hydro rates, reducing the corporate tax rate, pouring billions into transit in Toronto and trimming gas prices by 10 cents a litre. Each of these promises comes with a heavy price tag or revenue loss, and when all is said and done there would be, as of now, a $15-billion hole to fill. What’s important is not just how good a policy looks, but what it means for people.…

        About the same time Ford is offering all the largesse, he plans to cut government spending by $6 billion and – take his word for it – no loss of jobs or services. We’ve seen this play before and it is called sophistry. No one ever cuts $6 billion in spending without pain. If some other leader made such a claim, Ford wouldn’t believe it, and Ontarians shouldn’t believe Ford when he says it.”

        http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/adam-doug-ford-needs-a-platform-now

        And what Adam calculates to be a $15B budget shortfall (let’s call it a deficit) in Ford’s Ontario would be a best case scenario. Toronto Councillor Josh Matlow has calculated that the GTA transit projects promised by Ford alone face a $16B+ budget shortfall (they’re projected to cost $30.4B, for which there is $9B in existing funding, plus a Ford’s promise of $5B in new funding).

        http://joshmatlow.ca/ward-22/newsletters/1882-doug-fords-transit-math-doesnt-add-up.html

        The last PC government made a dramatic point of filling in a subway that couldn’t be funded. Ford, however, is so desperate to be loved that he’s telling everyone what they want to hear, regardless of the impact on the province’s books. In the process of doing so, he’s promoting a fiscal ignorance in the general population that is utterly at odds with the Conservative brand.

        Reply
        • jim graham

          May 28th, 2018

          Ford will take $1B earmarked for something we do not want, and allow us to spend it on what we desperately need.
          Some find this a puzzlement.

          Reply
          • Electoral Will

            May 28th, 2018

            The $1B is currently earmarked, through a Memorandum of Understanding with the province, for a rapid transit project that Hamilton’s elected officials voted for dozens of times across three separate councils.

            People may disagree with what was voted on, but a majority of council — often all of council — supported it repeatedly over the last decade, and the City spent years studying, consulting, evaluating and building a case for investment. They took that case to the province, which reviewed that work and proceeded accordingly.

            What I personally find a puzzlement, my friend, is the cockamamie notion that a party allegedly committed to “value for taxpayers/eliminating waste” would impose a substantially lower bar to unlocking $1B for any other infrastructure project than the party they habitually lampoon as free-spending.

          • jim graham

            May 29th, 2018

            fair enough Will, you find democracy puzzling, and the notion that those seeking power would consider the priorities of the populace “cockamamie” Good to know. It’s a shame you hide your light under a barrel, such radical thinking is worthy of public accolade.

  3. Electoral Will

    June 1st, 2018

    I’m not at all puzzled by democracy, which gave us three councils who voted consistently in supported of a single project. That’s a good baseline for commitment to a city-building vision, and a solid demonstration of political maturity.

    What I said was “cockamamie” was not the priorities of the populace, or the principle of eliminating waste or achieving value for taxpayer dollars (both fine principles), but the idea that an historically massive level of provincial funding would be dispensed at the drop of a hat, without precondition, by a government sworn to providing value for taxpayers and eliminating waste.

    “Measure twice, cut once”, as they say.

    Front-loaded public consultation is a simple undertaking, and in fact it’s part of respecting the taxpayers. Have City staff identify the most pressing infrastructure priorities and dollar figures, itemize their cost, then launch several rounds of PICs (and door-to-door consultations as necessary) to determine what the people of Hamilton support and where they feel tax dollars should be committed. Once you’ve wrapped up those sessions and reported back to council, put it to a city-wide referendum and ask the province to respect those results when it assembles its next budget.

    FWIW, $1B in 2018 dollars is the rough equivalent of three times the previous provincial spends to the Red Hill Valley Parkway ($150M of $245M cost), the Pan Am Stadium ($90M of $145M cost) and the Woodward Avenue Treatment Plant ($100M of $330M), combined.

    In each case, unlocking those funding commitments required the City to stake a substantial share of the capital costs (on average, one-third), which is part of how senior governments maximize their own resource pools. Obliging other levels of government to step up is evidence of a local belief in the importance of a priority, and it spreads the expense around, allowing everyone to get the most favourable media exposure at reduced cost.

    Private-sector partners can also be a part of the equation.

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/doug-ford-says-its-time-for-private-sector-partner-tolls-for-gardiner-expressway/article4624069/

    Reply

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