Many city politicians are still struggling with whether they believe the benefits of Hamilton’s LRT project outweigh the drawbacks.
During the latest meeting of the General Issues Committee, councillors struggling to support the initiative pointed to a range of unknowns like impacts of construction on existing businesses, the value and timing of the promised economic uplift and even the cost of fares once the trains are up and running.
Arlene Vanderbeek of Dundas notes that she resists “making decisions without a confidence that we know what we’re making a decision about”.
Glanbrok Councillor Brenda Johnson adds that there are businesses along the corridor who simply won’t be able to sustain the lack of business during the five year construction period.
City council has also heard from Hamilton Chamber of Commerce President Keanin Loomis who calls LRT an opportunity to “put the pedal to the metal and accelerate” the city’s renewal. He believes it is “too great a business opportunity to pass up”.
Project Manager Paul Johnson has reiterated that the billion dollars that the province has given to Hamilton is earmarked for LRT and nothing else.
The latest debate has ended without a vote on Councillor Sam Merulla’s motion to seeks to reaffirm support for the project. That is now scheduled to happen on June.15th.