Hamilton East Stoney Creek MP Bob Bratina has formally asked the Parliamentary Budget Office to review the Hamilton LRT funding commitment announced by Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna.
The request is asking for the PBO to review two major aspects of the LRT Funding Commitment.
“I’m asking the PBO to determine if the Hamilton LRT project fully complies with the “Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program” criteria, and whether the announced project cost and funding is adequate to achieve the objectives of the project.”
The Hamilton LRT project has been controversial since its inception 14 years ago. As of today City Council has not been updated on the project’s direct impact on Hamilton taxpayers through operation, maintenance and other funding requirements.
MP Bratina has reiterated his position on the need to explore other transit options
“LRT is not a transit solution for Hamilton. Metrolinx’s own business case summary to the Province states it will simply ‘provide more attractive travel options’. According to to the Metrolinx report Bus Rapid Transit provides a better cost benefit ratio in a medium growth scenario than light rail.
MP Bob Bratina welcomes the much needed Federal Investment into transit in Hamilton but believes that the government’s insistence that funding be tied specifically to an LRT infringes on City Council’s responsibility to effectively prioritize solutions for the city. As the Municipal Act of Ontario 2001 states, “It is the role of council to determine which services the municipality provides” and “to ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality”
MP Bratina argues that “This deal came out of the blue a year after the project was cancelled by the Province due to its prohibitive cost. Federal funding provides $1.7 billion dollars to the City with the proviso that the city can only use funds for light rail despite the strong division among residents over it.
Furthermore, MP Bratina is extremely concerned that major funding decisions can occur on the whim of a minister who has consulted only like-minded individuals who support what he describes as a ‘pet project’.
“As the former mayor of Hamilton and MP for Hamilton East Stoney Creek, I was never consulted on this project, and my repeated messages to ministers involved were ignored or dismissed.”