August 11, 2017 9:22 am

COMMENTARY: Council’s LRT motion could cost taxpayers millions

Hamilton residents and business owners presented their views on the LRT project to city council on March 28.

Ken Mann/900CHML
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Hamilton city council’s decision to demand that the Hamilton Street Railway, or HSR, must operate and maintain the proposed LRT system, could cost Hamilton taxpayers millions of dollars annually, or it could kill the project.

I’m fully supportive of the HSR employees staffing the new system, but assuming the operating costs will put a huge burden on our property taxes.

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READ MORE: Small step towards HSR run LRT in Hamilton

Remember a few years ago when city council passed a motion that stated that they support LRT as long as it had no impact on Hamilton property taxes?

Well, council has just contradicted themselves with this motion.

Metrolinx was seeking someone to design, build, operate and maintain LRT, so why would council pass a motion to impose the cost of operation and maintenance onto our property taxes?

I’m sure some councillors wanted to appease the local HSR union membership, but others on council had a more devious motivation.

READ MORE: Hamilton Coun. Green motions for HSR to take control of LRT

This motion will effectively delay the process even further, and of course, dump some of the cost onto Hamilton taxpayers.

The hope is that a new provincial government, or even the next city council, will deem LRT ‘unaffordable’ and kill the project.

The LRT supporters who backed this motion have unwittingly given the anti-LRT group a major opportunity to derail LRT.

Welcome to Hamilton city council, where personal political agendas overrule city building every time!

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