July 28, 2017

LRT Facts

Statements & Facts

Statement : Ontario Liberals promised back in 2007 to build “two light rail lines across Hamilton” as part of their re-election campaign. This was a few months after they proposed two rapid transit lines in Hamilton to be built under what was then a new, $17.5 billion proposal to complete a network of rapid transit lines across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.In response, the City conducted an extensive, two-phase feasibility study into LRT on the east-west B-Line back in 2008. The final report strongly recommended LRT as the preferred rapid transit option. Council unanimously endorsed the report and directed staff to undertake “the functional design, detail design and construction of the B-line rapid transit corridor … utilizing Light Rail Technology.”In 2010, Metrolinx published its Rapid Transit Benefits Case Analysis for the B-Line, which concluded that LRT would be more expensive to build but would provide a much bigger overall benefit.The study currently underway by the city is a Class Environmental Assessment (EA), which is required as part of the design process. The Province gave Hamilton $3 million in funding to help us complete the EA.

Fact: The Benefits Case Analysis is fraudulent as the speed of 33 km was used to justify the LRT as the better option but in actual fact the speed should be 22-25 km which would have affected the viability of the LRT as well as possibly jeapordized securing the $ 1 billion

 

Statement: The LRT system may have the ridership needed by 2031 and will only then become profitable if the anticipated population growth should be achieved

Fact : The current ridership is too low to profitably sustain the system . Based on North American Statistics ridership in general is declining .A 900% increase in ridership is required in order for this system to be profitable however based on the declining ridership it is very unlikely that that would happen. That poses the question, “Do we really need this system?” The primary purpose is to move large numbers of people along useful routes covering all regions of the Hamilton area. This proposed system only covers 14 km and wards 1-5 only , what about wards 6-15?

 

Statement: A number of developers inside and outside the city have expressed support for LRT, but do not want to invest until the city commits to building it. City staff have been consulting with developers and organized a workshop earlier this year to discuss what policy changes are required to ensure transit oriented development is successful.

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Hamilton Halton Home Builders Association, Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington, Downtown BIA and International Village BIA all support LRT. LiUNA Local 837 and property developer Darko Vranich have written formal letters of support for Hamilton’s LRT plan.

Fact: There is no substantiated evidence indicating an economic development uplift would occur due to an LRT build. “ If you build it they will come” is untrue. A healthy economy and market demand must already exist in the community. The population of Hamilton increased through amalgamation primarily. People are moving to Hamilton because it is still affordable and is in close vicinity to Toronto, Buffalo, London, Kitchener while offering the same amenities as larger cities. Developers are taking advantage of this increased interest in Hamilton as profitable real estate investments despite not currently having an LRT. Proposed job creation will be temporary and will not necessarily use local trades.Many of the “more successful LRT “ projects used as examples are not successful. Portland ‘s LRT is heavily subsidized by gov’t and taxpayers costing them billions . Charlotte NC is successful because it is free for students . Calgary’s LRT is a completely different format whereby it operates on its own tracks parallel to roadways

 

Statement:  LRT systems are the most expensive rapid transit option over and above BRT/VRT or bus service. We can’t afford to build LRT. Infrastructure will supposedly be improved ,however not if that infrastructure needs to be replaced/upgraded . The system only addresses the downtown core and does not service any of the outlying areas where growth is continuously occurring.

Fact: An LRT is an antiquated system that has been repackaged but will cost millions more to implement due to the extensive construction needed to lay down rails, secure poles and attach overhead wires. It is destructive, stationary and permanent. The $ 1 billion commitment from the gov’t is a payment only to own that line.

 

Statement: On a per-passenger basis, the actual fare for an LRT ride is unknown. While the LRT may be able to carry more passengers that does not guarantee the fare box will pay the cost of operating the LRT. The LRT will be more costly to maintain and operate if the ridership does not meet the required numbers.

 

Fact: HSR jobs may be lost due to the LRT as seen in Toronto with their TTC being eliminated from all LRT projects. The actual operating & maintanence cost agreement is still unresolved and therefore to date the actual cost of an LRT ride is unknown. based on low ridership, should the system be implemented the fare box cost will be substantially more than the current HSR ride.

 

Statement: LRT will run on the same road as automobiles, and that will eliminate 2 lanes of traffic from one of the main arteries of the city resulting in traffic being redirected onto secondary roads. A successful LRT system operates on its own right of way tracks such as Charlotte or Calgary. This design is attempting to incorporate a system that runs in tandem with cars which is a first in North America !

Fact: The proposed LRT design for Hamilton is unique and has not been tested/implemented in any other city using this method of running the LRT alongside vehicles. The added vehicular traffic in quiet neighbourhoods will cause added congestion, noise and pollution. There will be no left turns and pedestrian crossings will be limited . In addition, all emergency vehicles, darts, other buses etc will need to utilize those secondary arteries as well. What will happen if the LRT does encounter a problem and is stuck? what happens to the traffic then?

 

Statement: The city has attempted to inform the public regarding the details of the LRT proposal through information sessions, propaganda, interviews, surveys, presentation to community groups, service clubs etc . They have spent $ 4-5 million to set up an LRT office, hire staff, pay for promotional material etc

Fact: While the city has spent that $4-5 million in an effort to better inform the public about the LRT details , the lack of transparency , misinformation and lack of information has been evident. as very few Hamiltonians know anything about this proposal. The operating cost and maintenance agreement is a key component regarding this project as that will determine the responsibilites Hamiltonians will have regarding costs etc. In addition, all the required studies are still pending such as environmental, noise, traffic etc. There still remains too many unanswered questions.