Hamilton furious after Ontario cancels much-needed transit project
GTA commuters who were looking forward to the long-awaited Hamilton LRT line are more than angry at Premier Doug Ford this week.
Unafraid to piss anyone and everyone off, Ford nixed the entire project yesterday, citing unfeasible costs despite previously supporting the line and including it in the spring budget.
@fordnation @C_Mulroney shame on you both. Without warning, and after $200M is sunk into the #HamontLRT, you decide to pull the plug and don't even have the decency to hold a press conference? Absolutely appalling. #Hamont deserves better.— Mike Impe (@mvi6) December 16, 2019
According to the former provincial government under Kathleen Wynne, the 14 km-long, 17-stop initiative was due to cost $1 billion. Ford and his team are now saying that the line would actually cost more than five times that much — a number the province simply cannot afford.
Only eight months ago Metrolinx purchased a maintenance and storage facility for Hamilton LRT. It was the Ford gov't that gave them the go-ahead to buy property. Now Ford is cancelling the project. This is atrocious, amateur governing. https://t.co/KahzFwZ2nw#onpoli #hamont pic.twitter.com/SyQzG8jHrV— Asif Hossain (@asifintoronto) December 16, 2019
Metrolinx has already invested more than $160 million into the transit project, which included the purchase of a number of properties in Hamilton.
Many Hamiltonians are infuriated, noting the loss of potential jobs and general benefit to the city, among other things. Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger issued a statement in which he calls the news a disappointing "betrayal" to the city.
What an embarrassing series of events for the Ontario govt regarding the Hamilton LRT. Sad it is cancelled, and sad the Minister can't even face the heat for it.— Spencer Arbuckle (@saarbuckle) December 17, 2019
But, others are saying the line would have been a waste of money, and unsuitable for Hamilton and its current infrastructure.
So many Hamiltonians didn't want the stupid LRT in the first place! Upset so much money was wasted but happy they're not continuing! Our roads CAN'T handle LRT, it barely handles what we have! The properties should be turned into affordable housing but we know the city DGAF 🙄— Samantha 🤷♀️🎉 (@SamSabotage96) December 17, 2019
Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney was due to speak on the topic at a press conference yesterday afternoon that was haphazardly cancelled at the last minute, which only served to heighten tensions.
Eisenberger notes in his statement that the whole ordeal was "a poor way to do business and an irrational way to create a positive partnership moving forward."
Mulroney and Ford are still promising to allocate the initial amount of $1 billion to Hamilton transportation if a cheaper solution can be found.
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