Ward 15 Councillor Judi Partridge has issued an open letter to her constituents about Wednesday’s council decision to seek information from the Province and Metrolinx on the status of negotiations around LRT that have been conducted by LIUNA. The text follows:
Hamilton Council has voted to ask the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and Metrolinx to come before Council to provide the status of the Metrolinx LRT project/route change or ongoing funding negotiations.
This is a key update as Council has not been included in any discussions, including what appears to be ongoing negotiations or decisions around a major transit plan that will have a great impact on Hamilton residents and their taxes for years to come. And it now appears the original proposed LRT route has been altered significantly to a much shorter route, again without any input from taxpayers or Council. Another aspect put on the horizon is the apparent ongoing negotiations for funding that now includes a third party. At no time has your Council been informed of the funding negotiations with the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) as the lead. All without Council approval.
In August of 2020, the MTO revealed that the true capital cost of Hamilton’s LRT will be significantly more than the $1 billion which the province under the previous government had committed to invest in Metrolinx to build. The actual operating and maintenance costs have never been presented to Council and are still unknown, even today. Waterdown/Flamborough/Hamilton taxpayers will be on the hook for millions in tax increases to fund the operating and maintenance of an LRT. Considering that the significant job increases are all in the business parks in Ancaster, Stoney Creek, the Airport lands, and Flamborough Clappison Business Parks, how is a LRT in the down town core going to help employees get to those jobs. We need higher order transit to connect all of us in every community of Hamilton, especially to the jobs at the business parks.
Let me repeat, to date, Council has NOT approved any municipal taxpayer funding for the LRT capital or operating budget. Not one dollar has been approved by Council, yet the negotiations continue with others speaking on behalf of Council and our residents. There is no Memorandum of Agreement outlining the ongoing operating maintenance costs – this agreement was promised to be before Council five years ago.
It is so important that we have the opportunity to have Metrolinx and MTO bring us the facts and figures so Council can ask for clarification, so that we can advocate for our residents. I will continue to oppose the LRT and the reckless spending of $1 billion plus . I will continue to support other higher order transit at less cost, to better connect our communities. I am committed to work with my council colleagues to start the process with our provincial partners to get the money flowing to make better transit connectivity a reality. Council and staff need to work hand in hand respectfully with the federal government and the province to build the best transit for everyone in Hamilton. Behind the scenes negotiating is unacceptable and disrespectful.
Councillor Judi Partridge