Many are still in shock trying to figure out what happened to Hamilton’s LRT.
In the end the Ontario Conservatives were looking to trim costs after 15 years of Liberal affluence.
As everybody who has been on the planet longer than a day knows, Liberals rack up the credit card, Conservatives attempt to pay it down. That is the Canadian way.
LRT was always a divisive issue in Hamilton with a bumbling city council that constantly questioned the project even after full funding was awarded.
I remember former premier Kathleen Wynne on the show laughing about why it was still being debated, further delaying the issue.
The current provincial government knew if it killed the project only half the city would be ticked off, while the other half would be happy.
Since historically Hamilton tends to vote NDP (or for the party never in power), what do the Conservatives have to lose? Perhaps they have more to gain by killing a project the city was never really fully on board with in the first place.
In the end, there is plenty of blame to go around, but Hamilton loses again on investment that would have transformed the city, to fill its potholes.
One step forward, two steps back.
In the latest LRT salvo, the mayor has released the numbers given to him by the province at the now infamous Sept. 26 meeting of which council was kept out of the loop.
The documents confirm the government projections for the increased construction cost to $2.8 billion with maintenance and operation of the system added over $5 billion.
Many are questioning the government’s numbers as they reflect both construction and operation over the life of the system but is anyone addressing where even the extra construction money was going to come from over and above the original $1 billion?
The project was fraught with concern from the beginning, with citizens asking, “Who is going to pay for all this?” It’s totally financed? Free?
In retrospect, it seems totally naive for us to have even thought it would happen without some other form of financial contribution.
Most cities undergoing the same process have LRT financed in thirds divided between the city, the province and the federal government.
Hamilton wanted its LRT for nothing, as promised by a desperate Kathleen Wynne looking for votes heading into an election.
Unfortunately, as usual, Hamilton couldn’t get to the starting line, let alone cross over the finish before this train left the station.
Just like the stadium, another opportunity lost.