Do you support Hamilton's LRT proposal? If so, what will you do to ensure Hamilton's success in building LRT? If not, why do you oppose it?

Responses to the question: "Do you support Hamilton's LRT proposal? If so, what will you do to ensure Hamilton's success in building LRT? If not, why do you oppose it?"

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14 Candidate Responses (top)

CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Baldasaro, Michael James No No, I am not for funding LRT in the present economical circumstances.

At this time, the infrastructure underneath our roads requires repair and much improvement before we spend any more tax dollars by changing the entire concept of public transportation in the G.H.A. Especially, when improvements can be made to bring the present system up to standard.
Bratina, Bob Yes I have supported the concept of LRT from the beginning. We will have to fine tune a number of details before a final plan is implemented. What has not been done the the securing of commitment from Council to provide financial support for the plan in partnership with Provincial and Federal funders.
Butani, Mahesh P. Yes I support the LRT. However, we have to move away from politicizing its need, and focus on quickly creating the other vital components that makes an LRT scheme successful.

One of this crucial component is the creation of 'economic conditions' that support the implementation of an LRT. Our current zoning and economic development policies do not support compact urban growth - and although political lip-service is paid often to such relevant growth, the reality is that many private sector investments and community driven initiatives in the urban areas have suffered irreparable damage on account of the anti-urban development policies that dictates our city's growth.

The other vital component being our political and institutional culture, which unfortunately continues to put the cart before the horse, and as a result many critical, progressive initiatives end up failing in our city, at much cost to the tax payers. We need to redevelop a culture that understands the sequence of community building, and respects the facts that certain blocks need to be firmly in place, before we can add more blocks on top of it.

In moving forward, our city needs to seriously begin driving the required economic conditions that will not only justify, but sustain the LRT scheme. Expecting the federal and provincial levels to entirely pay for the costs of the LRT project is unreasonable and far fetched in the absence of the underlying local economic conditions. Given the sorry state of our existing infrastructure, finding local council consensus for new transit infrastructure investment will not be easy.

Creating sound economic conditions to support the LRT is not nuclear science. It just requires a radical political shift in thinking - and the required planning & zoning policies, along with its resulting urban economic growth will flow from it.
Di Ianni, Larry Yes I strongly support LRT. If elected on October 25th, I would immediately take steps to initiate a community-wide lobby effort of both the Provincial and Federal governments. This type of effort proved successful for Hamilton when I led the community in lobbying the McGuinty government for assistance with Social Services funding.

The community group I would bring together to lobby senior governments would include McMaster University, Mohawk College, business, labour, community groups, social services, citizens representing our city's diversity and organizations who've been advocating for LRT. I would also ensure that our entire community was represented: Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook and Stoney Creek.

Working together with Council and members of the community, we would produce a "Transit Hamilton" report that would describe our community's need for, benefits of, and plan regarding LRT. We would undertake a major community campaign including social media, petitions, rallies and presentations to governments in Toronto and Ottawa.

The city's existing transit plans must also be revised to include areas of the city beyond the proposed LRT lines at Eastgate Square and McMaster University. This revised transit plan would provide details on LRT feeder routes and implementation timelines. The current plan excludes every other area of our community except for the old City. This is not how you build consensus and support - it's not how you build a city. We need to include and engage our entire community in the city's LRT and future transit plans.
Eisenberger, Fred Yes LRT is one of my five main priorities as mayor. Under my leadership I secured $3 million in funding from Metrolinx to do advance engineering work and submitted our business case. LRT will provide an economic uplift for the entire community. In my second term, I will establish and personally lead an LRT SWAT team of government relations experts and community partners to secure government funding of LRT for Hamilton.
Filice, Pasquale Yes Yes, its a great project. it will be more expensive in 5 or 10 years from now.
Graydon, Edward H.C. No I do not oppose the expansion of mass transportation, but I question the usefulness of light rail. If light rail is what the voters want then I will make sure they get it, but as your Mayoral candidate I believe that much more pressing issues exist.

I had a friend that was a brain surgeon that worked at the General, and I have never forgotten his comments, that brain cancer was so prevalent in Hamilton. Arlene Mintz was the surgen that was exposed to so many cases, and a friend of the Wasserman's of Hamilton. I am not opposed to dealing with issues of mass transportation (LRT) has long as we tackle the issues that the steel plants place on our health. The time for real change is "now" I believe that we can do it all.

I will add that there is little question that during the construction of this project, that there will be massive retail losses. I am not the mayor that started this make work project, and believe that some will be very displeased during the process. I believe that some will lose their livelihood.
Haines, Andrew No I used to work as a Bus Driver for the Hamilton Street Railway from 1988 to 2001 and every day that I worked there, I wished that the HSR still had streetcars on the road.

I think that Streetcars are cool!

I am a railway nut: I like trains, big or small.

I wanted to drive a Hamilton Streetcar SOOO bad; it hurt.

Unfortunately, the Streetcar had been absent from Hamilton streets for many, many years before I started at the HSR and they were unlikely to return any time soon.

So, WHY am I opposed to the installation of an LRT system in Hamilton?

I have several reasons:

1: The concept that the HSR cannot possibly provide timely, efficient and economical service to Hamiltonians WITHOUT the installation of an LRT system is utter horse feathers!

2: The five routes in the system could cost up to $500,000,000.00! (Yeah, like we have THAT kind of coin in our pockets!)

3: Streetcars, although really cool-looking and (I'm sure) fun to drive, STILL get delayed by other road traffic: they cannot magically levitate off their tracks and float over that congestion, gridlock or the fender-bender on the road ahead.

4: The entire concept of Hamilton getting an LRT system has been shoved-down our Hamiltonian throats in a very-similar way to how the "Stadium" debate has been shoved-up our Hamiltonian butts and I don't like the spin-doctoring surrounding the LRT system AT ALL!

5: The money needed for an LRT system could be better spent on things like health care for our Senior citizens.

However if that amount of money MUST be spent on transit, I believe that the City should acquire every fleet taxicab in town, call them HSR vehicles, replace them, by attrition, with electric hybrids of similar size and finally have the HSR provide value-added, door-to-door service INSTEAD of spending Billions on an LRT system which will NOT provide more efficient service than what is being provided now.
Hamilton, Glenn Yes I would have an assigned professional dedicated to assuring a successful outcome for this opportunity.
Leach, Ken Yes The LRT proposal not only build the basis for the City of Hamilton, it allows for investment by our community. Funding for the system will obviously need to be both municipal and provincial, but as a long term strategic initiative we must move forward.

The construction of the LRT could work hand in hand with municipal infrastructure issues. If we are to tear up the major east-west corridor, should we not plan to do much needed undeground work at the same time. With pre-planning and proper budgeting we should be able to complete multiple projects allong the way.

As the province continues to download services to the municipalities we need to assume that we will be stretched even further than we are currently. With that in mind, the LRT expenditure will become a cost savings in the future.
Marrone, Tone No I disagree with the proposal to construct the Light Rail Transit in Hamilton for the following reasons:

1) The Metrolinx report has determined that it would be much more cost-effective to use a Bus Rapid Transit solution than the LRT. So why not save $800 million to $1 billion, much of it from Hamilton, and improve the downtown in other ways. Why choose a method that is not most cost-effective? With a Bus Rapid Transit solution, we can upgrade our transit system, and still have money available to start making a real effort into repairing our decaying infrastructure.

2) The Province is in worse financial shape than Hamilton, and to expect them to support a transit solution that is much less cost-effective than the alternative is ludicrous. If Hamilton pushes for the LRT, we will likely have to pay much more than one-third of the cost.

3) It seems inevitable that the LRT would mess up Hamilton's synchronized traffic light system if it is located on Main Street. In any eventuality, even with increased transit ridership, it will remove 2 lanes from an east-west corridor, and move us closer to a downtown traffic nightmare like Toronto's.

4) Hamilton downtown is not Toronto downtown! Until the area is cleaned up, not enough people will be willing to move here, shop here, or use the downtown transit system.
Speziale, Gino No We did the research on Light Rail Transit. Many cities across the USA are having serious issues with their LRT. From congesting roads to the cost of implementation and maintaining the LRT, people in various cities are very upset that their taxes have increased to offset the operating costs. Ridership was down in most of these cities. The politicians of the City of Hamilton are not competent to see past their noses and they have proved this over and over again.

The Hamilton taxpayer is under a great deal of financial pressures from all levels of Governments and would not be able to sustain such a cost to maintain this system. Until the city council becomes proactive and introduces sustainable endeavours which generate revenue that would cover the cost of such a transportation as the LRT.

As Mayor, I will introduce revenue generating projects that not only would cover the cost of LRT but I will also reduce taxes so the citizens can afford to ride on the LRT.

City council has either lost complete touch with the citizens of Hamilton or they have chosen to turn a blind eye to the reality of the state of the City and the people. To introduce this LRT within the next four years would guarantee failure and the taxpayer will be left holding the bill which they cannot afford.
Veri, Victor No No LRT but will consider BRT/streetcars, etc. Just see Portland, Oregon. They only spent $125 million to get the job done, i.e. streetcars. In return, they received benefits from this of over $3 million, by their estimates. LRT will not be viable - too much investment risk for the return on benefits that may result.
Waxman, Steven Maybe If any project that can better Hamilton is financially feasible after a cost benefit analysids then it will receive support. If it is not affordable or there are other more pressing prioritires, then it will not receive support.

Response Summary (top)

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1 Candidates Have Not Responded (top)

Wozny, Mark