Ontario Conservative leader Patrick Brown says if he becomes Premier after next June’s election, he will provide funding for whatever form of transit Hamilton City Council wants. At a recent round table meeting with Hamilton stakeholders Brown was asked directly to state his position on transit. He told the group that he would fund LRT or Bus Rapid transit, adding that Hamilton would not go to the end of the line for funding should there be a new request from Hamilton Council.

The PC leader’s statement was similar to the one he made to the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce earlier this year, and in fact is not far off from statements made by Premier Wynne this spring, just ahead of council last vote on the subject, when she was asked three times if the government’s position was “LRT or nothing” and three times she would only say the money would go to “transit.”

Council voted to allow the LRT project to proceed to the next step after MPP Ted McMeekin (Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale), notwithstanding the Premier’s statement,  told councillors that Hamilton would go to the end of a line that apparently involved 5 or 6 other communities if it rejected LRT in favour of BRT. That next step will be the presentation of a detailed operating and maintenance agreement to Hamilton Council. The Bay Observer has learned that the successful proponent to build and operate the system will be selected prior to the negotiation of the operating agreement, so that the proponent can be part of the negotiations.

The Bay Observer has asked the city’s LRT office to clarify what liability, if any, would be created with the successful bidder should council reject the operating and maintenance agreement, but had not received a response as of press time. The agreement and the selection of the successful proponent are expected to take place later this year.

Opinion: Journalism

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