It sounds like Hamilton’s light rail transit (LRT) project is still on track.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger has received the assurances that he was looking for during a 15-minute meeting at city hall with Ontario’s transportation minister.
READ MORE: Developers hold back amid LRT uncertainty
Jeff Yurek, following the meeting on Thursday afternoon, confirms the province has lifted a freeze on land acquisitions along the 14 kilometre LRT line and he’s granted a six-month extension to the current request for proposals from three pre-approved bidders.
LISTEN: Bill Kelly talks to Mayor Fred Eisenberger after meeting with Ontario Transport Minister Jeff Yurek
The Mayor says bidders have been “holding back a little” because of political uncertainty and that Yurek’s clarification is the “clear signal” the city has been seeking.
Eisenberger adds that he looks forward to “getting those bids done and getting an understanding of what the costs are going to be.”
LISTEN: Keanin Loomis President and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce talks LRT with Bill Kelly
Yurek also stated that “the government is standing by Premier Ford’s commitment of $1 billion for this project”, stressing that we won’t know if construction is still on budget until the bids are received.
Eisenberger is voicing confidence that the federal government will chip in, if necessary, adding that Transportation Minister Catharine McKenna has expressed an openness to discussing a contribution “if there is an overage” like it has done in Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo and for other LRT projects in the province.
WATCH: Province announces transit funding stream for municipalities outside