Doug Ford said its time for the federal government to step up with LRT cash if the project is to go forward. He made the remark in answer to a reporter’s question during a whirlwind tour of Hamilton and Burlington. Ford said that he and mayor Eisenberger had a “great” conversation earlier and suggested there was still a path forward with the project. That’s when he addressed his remarks to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland saying, “come on…it’s time to step up.
The comments left LRT observers confused. Two weeks ago when asked about LRT for Hamilton. Ford appeared to reject it saying he had serious reservations about building an LRT system that would “saddle the taxpayers of Hamilton,” as he put it, with a Billion dollar operating and maintenance tax bill over the next 30 years.
The comment about the federal government not stepping up to the plate was also at odds with several recent news reports where the Minister of Infrastructure Catherine McKenna had said she was willing to match provincial funding for Hamilton LRT.
The missing piece of the puzzle is the roughly $1Billion to $1.3 Billion that Hamilton Council would need to complete the project. LIUNA boss Joe Mancinelli suggested the finding could come from a private sector source or possibly the Infrastructure Bank of Canada, however, that would be in the form of a debt to the city and Hamilton Council has maintained repeatedly in past that they would not contribute to the capital cost of the project.