Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday January 14, 2017
Hamilton’s $1 billion LRT project may be getting a game-changing shakeup.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger says Metrolinx is considering killing the 2-kilometre James Street North light rail spur line for an alternative that has “greater value and cost efficiency.”
“I don’t know what and when the province is going to announce anything on this but I do know it’s been a topic of conversation.”
Multiple sources have told The Spectator the idea is to replace the James North spur with an express bus service from the waterfront to the airport on James and Upper James — essentially building the A-line route that’s part of the planned city-wide BLAST bus network.
According to sources, an announcement originally planned for Monday is now expected in a couple of weeks.
The proposal does not affect the 11-km east-west LRT route from McMaster to the Queenston traffic circle.
Eisenberger notes the James spur was an “add on” to the provincial funding announcement in 2015 and as such had never undergone a cost-benefit analysis.
“I assume that Metrolinx has done it now and I’m pretty confident it shows that it’s not the most viable business case … for an LRT on James.”
If the spur line is replaced with express buses from the Mountain to the waterfront, Eisenberger thinks it’ll be a better bang for the buck in terms of growing public transit across the city and will likely enjoy good political and public support.
A Metrolinx spokesperson said via email there “will be more news in the coming weeks.” (Source: Hamilton Spectator)