Hamilton’s mayor agrees that light rail transit (LRT) will be an issue in the upcoming provincial and municipal elections.
At the same time, Fred Eisenberger says he’s “not particularly pleased that people are still continuing to try to undermine council’s position.”
Eisenberger notes that the current city council voted to support utilizing the provincial government’s $1 billion commitment to Hamilton LRT to move forward with the project.
The mayor adds that upwards of $90 million has already been spent or committed, and he cautions that it’s an “oversimplification” to suggest that the $1 billion can simply be used for something else.
Eisenberger is responding to the latest remarks from both Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford and Flamborough-Glanbrook P.C. candidate Donna Skelly.
Ford said on Tuesday that his government would move forward with the LRT if that is what the “majority of the people” want, adding that if they don’t want it, “we’re still going to keep the money into infrastructure in Hamilton.”
Skelly, currently Hamilton’s Ward 7 Councillor and an LRT opponent, describes that comment as a “game changer” and insists that it provides a “clear, clear choice for the electorate.”
Skelly adds that the “shackles are now off” for those worried about losing the $1-billion investment.
She goes on to predict that up to five of her council colleagues will remove their verbal support for LRT, since they “now have the ability to spend money on issues, on infrastructure, that has a direct impact on their own constituents.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced her government’s support for Hamilton’s LRT project in 2015.
The 14-kilometre, east-west line, between Eastgate Square and McMaster University, is expected to be completed in 2024 with major construction beginning next year.