Friday July 22, 2011

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday July 22, 2011

Touch and GO on LRT

MPP Ted McMeekin says there’s little chance Hamilton will land Light Rapid Transit unless the city makes it a priority.

“My read on LRT, put very simply, is we’ll take our cues from the City of Hamilton,” he said. “Let me say it as bluntly as I can: If LRT is not a priority for the city council and the citizens it represents, the province is highly unlikely to come to the table with big bucks to do it.”

McMeekin’s comments mark the second time this week a provincial official has stressed the importance of the city’s enthusiasm and desire for securing LRT. Earlier this week, Metrolinx, the regional transportation agency in charge of rapid transit, said public support will be “critical to successfully implementing the rapid transit this region needs.”

Those comments come after City Manager Chris Murray and Mayor Bob Bratina signalled a move away from pursuing LRT in favour of prioritizing all-day GO service. Part of that move was to suspend all non-essential work on LRT, which means a study of development possibilities along the LRT line will be cut short and the number of city staff working on LRT will shrink from six or seven to one.

This week, LRT advocates have raised concerns about how the city’s apparent cooling on the issue would be affected by comments from city hall.

However, in contrast to his comments earlier this week, Bratina said Thursday that LRT is a priority. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)