Do you support the city's plan to build an east-west light rail transit (LRT) line with full capital funding from the Province?

Responses to the question: "Do you support the city's plan to build an east-west light rail transit (LRT) line with full capital funding from the Province?"

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48 Candidate Responses (top)

CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Baldasaro, Michael No No to east-west route. If the Province lives up to its promise to
fund Public Transportation, my business plan supports beefing up BRT
service, shortening wait times and includes an LRT-LOOP from the GO BUS
STATION on Hunter to the GO RAIL STATION on James St. North. Travelling
North on Bay, South on James, East and west between King and Hunter, it
encompass the new HSR/BRT Station on MacNab. This is the only LRT that makes
sense. THE HEART OF THE SYSTEM to follow. Fossil fuelled transportation is
tomorrows dinosaur. GO to GO services all East and West BRT Routes
through-out the G.H.A. Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, Hamilton,
Mount Hope and Stoney Creek. An LRT LOOP will attract local and out-of-town
Tourists and commuters to the downtown core and Condominiums. This is our
best opportunity of creating a sustainable and expandable BRT/LRT which
benefits everyone.
Butt, Ejaz No I support the under ground LRT connected to all part of the city and also to main go station. This will also resolve two of other big issues that is building of roads over the cemented roof and replace the old sewerage system that is to kill the three birds with one stone. Cost and time will be needed more but the problem will be solved for next 100 years or more. I would like to have 100% funding from the province however if we have add some associate cost we should do it without raising the property taxes. We must find some other ways to generate the revenue
Eisenberger, Fred Yes Yes, but need broad community support
Lavigne, Crystal No Absolutely not. I fully support increased bus services, including the taxi program that reaches to the areas that do not have access to a bus stop. Also, I would like to install a gondola system extending from the mountain to the lower part of our city in the central/east end. This would be the first site for this system, which would hook up to bus stops at either ends, as well as parking and bicycle hubs.
McHattie, Brian Yes Yes I support fully our LRT plan as described in the Rapid Ready Report.
Pattison, Michael A. Maybe I do support the east west light rail if and only if, these questions are answered.

At what level of populace will such infrastructure be deemed sustainable or better yet profitable?

How can we increase ridership now to help circumvent the operating costs that will be incurred in the future? .

Do we have efficient service designs that will adapt our existing transportation services into the new vision of Hamilton?

Will the L.R.T, B.R.T or express bus transit systems identify, now or in the near future, our municipalities current needs which are not being met?

To end the debate I just wish all short and long term planning could be vetted in a way that would showcase benefit-to-cost analysis, and complete transit outlooks upon completion and most importantly construction costs and schedules that can outline our population expectancies, presumed gridlock figures and ridership expectancies before we move forward.

I see an absolute made-in Hamilton solution, for the people of Hamilton and the future of Hamilton. I know we have one so let’s lay every platform on the table at the same time with a barrage of questions that each proposal must identify and resolve before we make a selection.
Ward 01
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Allen, Jason Yes Yes. If the province pays the capital cost, we would be fools to turn our nose up at a billion dollar investment, and demand one a quarter the size instead. LRT is less expensive to run than BRT, but just as disruptive to install, while attracting three times the riders that a BRT system would. In short, there is absolutely no upside to installing a BRT system when we could get an LRT instead.
Greco, Tony Yes Yes. I support it only with full funding from the Province. Ideally, the project should be done without negatively affecting taxpayers and local business on an ongoing basis. I would not want it to result in higher taxation. I also support enhancing the local HSR system with more buses and expanded routes throughout the city to provide improved service. Moreover, I strongly believe that an improved DARTS transportation system is a missing piece in providing an excellent transit service for all Hamiltonians.
Johnson, Aidan Yes Yes - for economic and environmental reasons. A key condition for my support is the provision of full provincial funding.

I will also fight to bring into place the “missing piece” of our rapid transit/LRT equation: fair and adequate funding for Hamilton transit from Transport Canada (the federal ministry of transportation).
Rosen, Ira Maybe I do not feel we have all the required information to make a well informed decision. Since the plan is already in place, I will support the previous decision but only if we are guaranteed full funding for all the building, capital, and infrastructure costs as well as any possible remediation and demolition that might occur. In addition, I would only move forward if we have a strong financial assistance program to any business that might be affected in a negative way during the building process. If one business closes due to this that is not acceptable.
Shaw, Sandy Yes This is a huge decision for Hamilton.   Yes, of course with full capital funding from the Province, this investment can be leveraged to mean many good paying jobs for the city. LRT will have the effect of connecting the city along the east-west corridor and eventually stem the amount of 'sprawl' in the suburbs.

Increasing the densification for housing, businesses and recreation along the LRT corridor along with other proactive planning will help in developing active and involved communities through transit oriented development, essential for the long term health of the city.

Affordability needs to be addressed so that all citizens no matter what their financial resources have the ability to use the system.

Finally, LRT is just part of the transit system. The remaining bus routes running North-South, such as connecting Hamilton City Centre to the Hamilton Mountain and down to the growing lakefront need to be improved and integrated so that all Hamiltonians have an efficient, quality transit system that moves people, not cars.
Ward 02
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Farr, Jason Yes Yes. With full capital funding as promised. I am a little disheartened to hear some of the suddenly opposing messaging during this election. The fact is, council has a solid mandate and that has been reinforced (I was proud to do that) and the LRT is not simply about providing a sexy train. It's about building up our inner city nodes and corridors. Supported by our business community (Chamber/BIA's/HHRA/etc) and seen as a driver of economic activity where, in some areas along the b-line, we desperately need it.

It is environmentally friendly and when we think ahead based on current evidence (for example, the big three can't seem to understand why the 18 to 29 demo are not buying their cars) we certainly are in a position where the only regrettable action, would be non-action.

This is not and should not be a polarizing issue as the outcomes from a city planing perspective are of benefit to every taxpayer on every corner of Hamilton.

All this said, 100 percent please, Province. You are well aware we cannot afford otherwise.
Heaton, Kristina No The new GO Station rail system is going in now, and with that, a substation could be installed at the east end. Current councillors figure they can expropriate any land, and run a new track down King Street.​ Where?! And with the current debt load of the province, the cost will still come out of our pockets, with even bigger interests.
Wallis, Terri Yes
Ward 03
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Agostino, Ralph Maybe Maybe; We don’t have all facts that supports the province will provide full funding. There are some unanswered questions to make the correct decision.
DiMillo, Mark No LRT should not be an election issue, it should be a planning issue. Furthermore, it is not a stand alone issue with a yes or no answer. We keep talking about it like we are going to wake up the day after Christmas and it is going to be there as a gift from the province. The reality is that the earliest, if everything lined up perfectly, and given the existing projects underway that have funding commitments from the province we are 7-10 yrs away from LRT as a reality even if it was supported by Hamiltonian's. The Premiere herself said in early August that major infrastructure spending is vulnerable. If the province said they were going to put the shovel in the ground next week, my answer is no. The province has set growth targets for both employment and population. We need to monitor our growth, and use benchmarks so that at the appropriate time LRT or rapid transit will be a matter of when not if. We cannot sustain it now, and I wouldn't want to build it now and by the time we need it, and it could be sustainable, it is already 25 yrs old and needs a lot maintenance or replacing. On the other hand to grow jobs and attract good employers, two of the key factors employers look at are cities with good infrastructure which includes transit, and secondly quality of life. In short there needs to be some good planning, some balance, and not just the let's build it and they will come approach, or take the money and run. As taxpayers we will no doubt pay for infrastructure projects that don't affect our city because there is only one taxpayer. If that means we have to pay for other projects in the province now, then eventually the taxpayers outside our region will have to pay for infrastructure and transit projects for us when the time is right. We cannot accept the full funding without comprehensive planning initiatives that complement the province's investment in Hamilton.
Green, Matthew Yes I support the city council plan to build an east-west LRT the full capital funding from the province.
Mejia, Victor No I say no to LRT it does not work for us in our city.
Omazic, Drina Yes I’m a progressive on transit – as I am on most issues.
I support the City’s plans and am concerned if we don’t plan carefully – to be a vibrant city – that is attractive to people – we will fall behind other cities that are moving ahead on urban transit. For me, it’s a qualified yes. I am for transit that is affordable and efficient.
Simmons, Tim Yes If the Province is willing to pay the full shot, then I am in favour of LRT. Either way we need a rapid transit strategy for the entire city and that will also include buses.

We don't have to wait for the LRT to be built to get started on the other components of a rapid transit system.
Ward 04
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Merulla, Sam Yes
Moreau, Lorna No No, Hamilton cannot afford the tracks and maintenance.
Ward 05
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Brown, David No This question is flawed, in that the Province is not proposing to provide full capital funding for a Light Rail Transit system. I compare the Council Resolution that was passed to saying that I would like to drive a Ferrari if someone else pays for it. Public Transit infrastructure is expensive and to support a higher order transit system, the City must increase ridership to the point where we can finance a rapid transit system on the basis of ridership and demand. Today we do not have those numbers. It would be my goal to focus on improving service levels to increase ridership so that we would then be in a position to determine the feasibility of rapid transit including Light Rail.
Storm, Larry No I am of the opinion that when everything is ready that the province will back out of the commitment. No contract has been signed. I am also of the opinion that the route is flawed. There are parts of the planned route that wouldn't allow any traffic other than the rail cars. This is not good planning. The argument that there will be an economic boom at stops may be true, but what about the businesses along the route that will lose business because ease of ingress and egress to their parking lots will significantly reduced.

We need a now solution to improving transit to all the communities. The near term answer would be more buses, more hybrid buses and bi-articulating buses and implementing all the BLAST routes for under 100 million.

If we can start BLAST as first a bus system and then look at LRT/BRT as evolutions of the system. I think we need to build ridership before we look at LRT, because as I mentioned the province is not as eager as they were before the election.
Ward 06
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Rodrigues, Dan Maybe While I am supportive of the Rapid Ready Report, there remains some unanswered questions surrounding support from the Province on the capital funding requirement. Hamilton will most likely be required to provide some capital support for the Report, including, but not limited to: land acquisition, sewer and waste water/water line infrastructure. I believe we need to see a clearer capital and operational cost component to the proposed LRT plan. At this point in time, I am very disappointed in the fact that we currently have a Rapid Ready Report, which is absent of how and when these items will become actionable items.
Ward 07
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Beck, Keith Yes I support the B-line LRT with full provincial funding.
Burghall, Greg Yes Reluctantly, yes. I’ve read compelling arguments both for and against the LRT plan and to be honest, we won’t know it’s true value unless it is built. The city could desperately use that money elsewhere, such as repairing and upgrading our existing infrastructure, but if it’s earmarked by the province for transit I believe we should take advantage of it.
Ward 08
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Czerniga, Joshua Peter Yes Yes but only if it all came frome province.
Ward 09
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Conley, Doug No
Galindo, Cam No No. On this topic, I'm cautiously optimistic. The reality is and many people agree, our city simply can't afford LRT. Bluntly speaking, LRT would only save commuters an extra 5 minutes. Arguably, 5 minutes is not worth the billions of dollars it would cost to build and maintain the line. Not to mention the traffic congestion. It's time to focus on what we need in Ward 9 regarding public transit. Our population has grown substantially over the last several years, and yet we have done nothing to our transit system to accommodate commuters. We need to develop a transit plan that works for you.
Marrone, Tone No i'm not in favor of lrt on the basis that it will cripple the business sector,serve a fraction of the community and it should not be a priority in discussions when there are so many pressing issues like infrastructure and economic development that should be prioritized.
McMullen, Geraldine    Yes Yes on two conditions. Only if it is fully funded by the Province and if it is supported by consistent, convenient and timely transit service connections from all points of the City. It is important to recognize that there is a cost to sustaining such a service; however, we need to be courageous and forward thinking as we move into a greater vision for an inclusive Hamilton.
Robbins, Marie Yes Yes I do and I have written a full article dedicated to this subject here on Raise the Hammer: http://raisethehammer.org/article/2303
Rosser, Christopher No My vision for transit will differ from every candidate I've heard from to date. I'll start with my reasoning. Everyone is concentrating on two options; a bus rapid transit system (BRT) or the light rail transit (LRT). Listening to people all around the city, I've heard complaints about both.

The pilot project running right now in downtown Hamilton has a dedicated bus lane. Local businesses are experiencing a drop in sales based on the inability for cars to stop in front of their businesses. Motorists are getting frustrated with the lane reduction as cars pile into their designated lanes while there is an open lane barely getting use beside them and DARTS buses aren't even allowed to use them. These lanes are an important part to a BRT system. The cost is significantly less than LRT but definitely is still a significant investment.

The LRT is being touted as the answer for the city. When I think of LRT, my first thought was of the highly effective "C Train" in Calgary. The LRT however is nothing like the "C Train"and is a very long term plan that was not considered when designing the city. I feel it is like trying to put a square peg in a circle hole. The square peg might be a great peg, but if it doesn't fit, it won't work. Not to mention the cost is through the roof. We are hoping that the provincial government honours its promise, made by a premier who is no longer in power and will pay the $810 million construction costs. The infra-structure updates during the construction of the LRT will be the responsibility of the city, which we don't have the budget for.

My vision for Hamilton's transit has more to do with who will provide the transit rather than how the city will provide it. I think we need to make a case for the private sector to step up and do what the private sector does best. Offer a service for a profit. For too long now our municipal government had hoped that they can solve the transit issues. The private sector will run it like a business. If they aren't providing a good service, they won't make a profit. So it is always in their best interest to provide the best service possible. It might seem a little extreme but this transit model is not new. York region currently contracts out its service to four private bus contractors, who employ the bus operators and maintain the YRT/Viva fleet. Performance-based contracts with each contractor ensure the system is always running up to the Region's high standards. Their system is not only working, it's actually been increasing the ridership. (YRT/Viva experienced a 2.4 per cent ridership increase in 2013 for a total of 22,709,612 riders)
Rukavina, Frank No I am opposed to the 14-kilometre light-rail line from McMaster University to Eastgate. If elected I would vote no to the $811-million LRT system (The $811-million which the province has yet to comment too does not including what the local taxpayers will be forced to pay extra to upgrade underground water and sewer services as well as the road reconstruction and traffic signals along the 14km route). I would however would be in favour of negotiating a cheaper bus rapid transit with the province.
Ward 10
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
DiFalco, Teresa Maybe In principle I support LRT, based on the following assumptions:

• Capital funding is provided 100% from the province.
• The full costs, other than capital funding are declared and known, and deemed to be affordable to Hamiltonians.
• A strong business case is in place to ensure benefits outweigh costs.
• The implementation is a made in Hamilton solution that takes into account our unique characteristics.
• LRT is a component of a broader proper mix of transit options.
• BRT is enhanced in Ward 10 and for other areas requiring better transit services immediately.

I have read all the materials on this topic and there are just too many important questions left unanswered.

In a recent Spec questionnaire about LRT, in which participants had to pick either Yes or No, I requested clarification if I could explain my answer because this is not a straight Yes or No question. So without having all the answers that I need, I said No, but that is not to say that I am not remaining open to looking at this further.
Pearson, Maria Maybe I support addressing LRT or BRT in the most responsible and cost efficient method that provides improved service to transit users of Hamilton and taxpayers. The big question continues to be the Province's funding.
Ward 12
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Bryson, K. Grace No No to LRT. It will not benefit anybody outside of Hamilton.
Ferguson, Lloyd Yes If we are assured 100% capital funding I support going to the next step. There are a ton of other issues.
Iachelli, John F.F.   No I do not support the LRT
Nicholl, Anthony No No. It will most likely go over budget by 25-50%. Where will the extra money come from? Most likely our taxes will go up and the residents will have to foot the bill. There is a McMaster Study showing we do not meet the minimum requirements to have the LRT. http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/4872957-mcmaster-study-says-lrt-no-magic-bullet-for-hamilton/
Ward 13
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Norton, Kevin Yes I do support this plan but not in its currently proposed entity. At the moment the LRT proposal involves a King and Main line and a mountain access as well as an express line connecting Waterloo to Downtown Hamilton.

I support the basics of this plan mainly the Main and King installation. This is not to say that further additions cannot be made to the route in the future but this proposal is one that will maximize benefits of reducing cars on the road, eliminating the need for as many buses along this route and making the cost of such a project much more palatable.
Risdale, Marc Rhéal Yes Yes. I have openly supported LRT throughout my campaign. Based on the evidence I have seen, it is a vital key to the economic development of Hamilton and the renewal of the core. This is of great importance to Dundas as it is the most sustainable way to reduce our extremely high tax burden.
Scime, Danya No In a perfect City with no other pressing issues needing our long term tax dollars, I would support LRT. Unfortunately, this is NOT a reality. Currently we have infrastructure, waterlines, sewers and roads in desperate need of repair. I can easily compare this to my wish for having a hybrid echo friendly car while I need a roof over my head repaired and food on the table for my children. I do believe that we must factor in a more efficient transit system for the future but at the present time it needs to be planned, not executed. Ryan, I respect RTH stance ; yet as a Dundas Tax Payer that wants what is best for the entire City, LRT is not the priority for the majority of our Residents. And there is NO SIGN of this having any safety net after the original "capital funding from the Province" (provincial dollars are out of our "other"pocket, not from any other source). The maintenance and yearly operating costs are not included in the funding and until our other issues are resolved, LRT is too costly. We also need to take into account our North -South transit woes to encourage revitalization of Downtown Hamilton as well as our outlying Wards that have to be crammed onto busses that are over crowded or not on a longer running schedule. As a side note, if we are so concerned to work on our environmental woes, I would much prefer we CLEAN UP our water (Randle Reef, Harbour front etc.properly) and attract more business and residents that will pay maximum dollars to have the privilege of working/living by water that we can swim in.
Vanderbeek, Arlene No NO. I believe that we need an efficient and convenient transit system -- one that works for this community and one that we can afford. Service frequency, convenience and accessibility are the way that we will increase ridership and make the transit system financially sustainable. Not just on the B-Line.

LRT is not a priority for me. We do not have all the facts, at this point, and the ones we do have indicate that the tax burden will be heavy -- not only to build it, but to operate and maintain it. Additionally, implementation will be years away.

I see buses and BRT as something we can begin to implement almost immediately, in affordable stages; as highly flexible; and more sustainable.
Yull, Toby Yes Yes, with a Dundas addendum: bring the service further west to the transit hub at the University Plaza. Dundas has always been home to large numbers of McMaster people (hospital, university, staff, faculty, docs, nurses, students) who must park cars on paved lots on campus.

Linking to an existing hub where people could park and go, would include Dundas in the lower-city transit upgrade and go a long way to assuaging the still-prevalent negative feelings around amalgamation (that is, that Dundas gives to Hamilton, but does not receive).

Ancaster riders could come down the #2 hill and park and ride from the hub as well, thus servicing a whole new chunk of the GHA, and of course, many riders from the west end would go beyond Mac to downtown and Stoney Creek.
Ward 14
CandidateBrief ResponseFull Response
Knowles, Steven No As it stands, i do not support an east-west LRT plan. I believe in increased transit service but i don't believe LRT is the way for Hamilton at this time. I prefer the BRT system under a P3 model. Whether the province pays for the contruction or not, future maintance and work will rely on ridership and city contributions. The BRT system is more cost effective and will offer the most flexiablity as our city grows. As well, The citys overall plan includes many areas of development running north through south. In saying this, the provincial dollars seem wasted under an east-west plan.
Stewart, Scott No I'm certain based on more current comments that Councillors have backed off on LRT support as it stands now. My business & government experience have me concerned regarding what the Province will fund. I'm in support, at this time, of something more in line with a Transportation plan that includes aspects of the Rapid Ready Report. I believe that utilizing additional bus routes to areas of increased population is useful, that adding express buses to say the B Line and elsewhere is a more flexible improvement to transit along that corridor and that the City is more likely to obtain significant, firm funding for such an approach than LRT. Having worked in Toronto for over a decade, I've seen how a tracked system still controlled by traffic lights creates congestion.

Response Summary (top)

Brief ResponseCount% of Total

39 Candidates Have Not Responded (top)

Clancy, Mike
Clark, Brad
Francis, Warrand
Iamonico, Nick
Ryerson, Phil
Tavares, Ricky
Ward 01
Lewis, Brian
Ward 02
Dallas, Ed
Henry, Ryan
Vail, John
Ward 03
Anastasiou, Maria
Assadourian, Bob
Gibson, Sean
Hess, Jol
John, Eva
Kelly, Brian
Millette, Byron Wayne
Pinho, Carlos
Szajkowski, Bernie
Ward 04
Laurie, John
Whalen, Tina
Ward 05
Collins, Chad
Rusich, George
Ward 06
Jackson, Tom
Olynchuk, Brad
Ward 07
Duvall, Scott
Ward 08
Whitehead, Terry
Ward 09
Austin, Lee
Fiorentino, Nancy
Ward 10
Yachetti, Luana
Ward 11
Johnson, Brenda
Rigitano, Vincenzo
Ward 13
Coull, Mark
Court, Rick
Mitchell, Pamela
Urquhart, Christeen
Ward 14
Pasuta, Robert
Ward 15
Bos, Neil
Partridge, Judi