The Bay Observer has been getting some feedback on yesterday’s announcement that the City will proceed to draft an operating and maintenance agreement with Metrolinx for the construction of the Hamilton LRT.
Ward One resident David Borsellino was concerned about controlling any increase in taxes that might result from the LRT:
“As the debate over the LRT continues can reasonable people agree that for it to be a success current B Line ridership needs to increase significantly and it must drive substantial new investment in the core. LRT proponents would have us believe it will bring ” billions of dollars of investment to the city “( Ward One councillor ) and citizens will flock to use it. Both assumptions are purely speculative. Despite all the studies and purported benefits no one really knows how successful LRT will be until it is full operational in 7 to 10 years. Given the past record of fiscal responsibility at City Hall ( Red Hill, Sewergate ) is it any wonder citizens are skeptical about this latest investment given there is no consensus over operational costs ? To gain wide public support I suggest council pass legislation that places a cap on annual tax increases to both businesses and residents. If council is so assured of its success this should pose no risk. Beyond alleviating the fiscal fears of many it will garner support from outlying wards.If the LRT faces cost overuns, ridership is suppressed or projected investments fail to materialize the city cannot simply pass the added expenses on to the taxpayer. Rather, council will be forced to find savings elsewhere to support the project they so fervently advocated for. It is time for residents to demand fiscal accountability from our leaders rather than hope for it. Let’s see if they can truly “put their money where their mouth is. ” David Borsellino , Fervent Hamilton Advocate.”
Gabriel Nicholson focused on the impact the LRT will have on existing bus services –something City Manager Janette Smith said we needn’t worry about until the LRT is fully operational. Noting that council has effectively approved a scenario results in a 1/3 reduction in Route 1. (King) and 5 (Delaware), he notes that the changes will disaffect riders in Dundas, Ancaster, Westdale, Stinson, Delaware, Maplewood, Lawrence, King, Greenhill, Cochrane, and Stoney Creek. He suggests these riders will be forced take the LRT, thus providing it with its ridership.