October 11, 2018 5:45 pm

LRT supporters and opponents continue trading punches

The LRT project continues to dominate the debate ahead of the October 22 municipal election.

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Supporters and opponents of Hamilton’s light rail transit (LRT) project continue trading punches ahead of the municipal election.

Four of the city’s leading business groups — the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Realtor’s Association of Hamilton-Burlington, Hamilton Halton Construction Association and the Hamilton Halton Home Builders’ Association — have all pledged support for the project.

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Chamber president Keanin Loomis says the project means development, jobs and tax revenue.

He also stresses that LRT is the first phase in a 25-year transit strategy that “will reach into all corners of the city.”

READ MORE: Hamilton chamber continues to prepare for LRT construction

On the other side of the debate is mayoral candidate Vito Sgro, who is trying to stop the project and unseat incumbent mayor and LRT supporter Fred Eisenberger.

READ MORE: ‘I’ve run out of reasons why not to’: Vito Sgro set to join Hamilton’s mayoral race

Sgro’s campaign says it received assurances Wednesday from the provincial government that $1 billion will be available for transit or infrastructure, based on the city’s priorities after the Oct. 22 municipal election.

Sgro says his vision is “fix our city so that it works for everyone — not just the few.”

READ MORE: Metrolinx pumps the brakes on Hamilton land purchases for LRT

Eisenberger insists that the $1-billion provincial investment is only for an east-west LRT line and both sides have continually accused the other of trying to mislead voters.

The $1-billion cost of building a light rail transit line across the city, from McMaster University to Eastgate Square, was committed to Hamilton by Ontario’s previous Liberal government.

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