There is a misleading straw man being trotted out in this act 3 of the LRT saga. That is, that should Hamilton reject LRT we will get nothing. Maybe the mayor actually believes that, but Queen’s Park veterans like Ted McMeekin should and do know better. The premier has stated less than a year ago that it was “never LRT or nothing,” she went on to say that she is eager to hear what transit plan Hamilton favours. A government sitting as low as this one in the polls is in no position to punish municipalities, especially since the minister of transport and Metrolinx are not nearly as dogmatic about LRT as are Fred and Ted. We have always understood that the government’s funding envelope was earmarked for transit only and could not be used for infrastructure like roads and sewers, and it is disingenuous to suggest that LRT skeptics are promoting that use of funds. (It is interesting, however to note that the most recent justification for LRT is all the free sewer and water mains we will get). Last Friday we asked Ted McMeekin to clarify whether alternatives to LRT, like BRT would be eligible for funding as the premier suggested last year and to date have not received a response. He did tell reporters that there were”five or six” other Ontario communities looking for transit cash and the 1 Billion dollars could be gone in a flash. One wonders which communities these are since Kitchener, Toronto, Ottawa and Mississauga have already received transit funding commitments. London is looking at BRT, but that would be funded out of a different envelope than the one earmarked for the GTAH. The fact is that based on its population Hamilton is entitled, yes entitled– to somewhere in the area of $600 Million in transit cash—an amount sufficient to fund a significant transit program for the area. A former Metrolinx head once jokingly referred to the “Santa Claus” school of infrastructure funding—where benign ministers descend on communities, not once, but sometimes two or three times, making the same funding announcement. Hopefully we’ve all grown up and understand that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be bribed with our own money, or in this case have what is rightfully ours taken away.
One Comment to: It won’t be zero
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