The influential Ottawa insider publication Hill Times has run an editorial critical of the Federal and Ontario Governments’’ decision to insist on LRT for Hamilton over Bus Rapid transit. Earlier the Hill Times had published a story about Hamilton East-Stoney Creek MPP, Bob Bratina’s decision to not run again in protest over the transit decision. The article quoted, pollster Greg Lyle of Innovative Research, who told The Hill Times that Mr. Bratina’s decision not to seek re-election should be a “cause of concern” for the Liberals. He said the Liberals are losing a politician with a lot of name recognition in the riding, and it matters that Mr. Bratina is quitting over an issue that is important to the local people. Mr. Lyle said that this will potentially have ramifications for all five ridings in the area, including those held by other parties. “It has implications for all five because, remember, the Liberals would also like to get some pickups,” said Mr. Lyle. “This is a very well-known MP who is quitting on a really important issue to Hamilton. So it’s the fact that you’ve got both: a well-recognized person, and you’ve got an important local issue. [It]would be a cause for concern.”
Editorializing on the transit funding announcement the Hill Times opined;
“It’s surprising and makes one wonder why the two levels of government are insisting that the money can only be used for the LRT project. Both levels of government should explain publicly why, with all the objections raised by the local MP, they insist only on the LRT project. What are the vested interests at play behind this project?…
If Mr. Bratina is right that the property taxes will go up because of the LRT’s high operational and maintenance costs, why not opt for the BRT project? Also if this project is not shovel ready, the two federal ministers shouldn’t be saying it is.
Both levels of government should leave it up to Hamilton’s mayor and city councillors to make an informed decision on how they want to spend the $3.4 billion and, before making the decision, the city council needs to find out exactly how much the operational and maintenance costs will be. Based on this information, the council should decide what’s best for the residents of Hamilton.”