Hamilton-East Stoney Creek MP Bob Bratina will not be running in the next federal election and he says the recent decision to go ahead with Hamilton LRT project is the reason why.
In a statement, the former councillor and Hamilton mayor cited cost and the way the deal was constructed as the reasoning for his decision.
“What has brought me to this decision at this time is not only the recent announcement by the federal government to intervene in the Hamilton transit situation with an LRT system that I believe in my heart is not the transit solution that Hamilton needs, and at a cost to Hamilton and Canadian taxpayers that I cannot in good conscience support; but also, the manner in which this deal came to pass,” Bratina said in his release.
On Thursday, The province and the federal government revealed a combined investment of $3.4 billion for a 14-kilometre light rail transit line (LRT) across the lower city, from McMaster University to Eastgate Square.
The 17-stop line, will be equally funded by both governments at a cost of $1.7 billion. That will pay for planning, design and construction costs. It’s anticipated that the city will be responsible for yet-to-be-determined operating and maintenance costs following construction.
Bratina told Global News he has “no personal animosity” to his colleagues and said the decision was just a “policy disagreement.”
The former mayor thought the project would be “nice to have” but not a necessity for the city.
“I was there when it came out in 2007 and the first thing I did was went to the engineer, Jill Stevens, and tell her that it’s a nice project, but it’s in the wrong place,” said Bratina.
The MP went on to say he was unaware of the advanced planning of the new development and that his concerns over cost to taxpayers, the lack of connection to GO, and no service to 80 per cent of the population were never addressed.
“So I realized that I would not be able to defend this if an election were called in September whenever I couldn’t go door to door and honestly support this in any way,” Bratina said.
Bratina served as the 56th mayor of Hamilton between 2010 to 2014.
He also previously served on the Hamilton city council from 2004 until 2010. He has been the Liberal MP for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek since his election in the 2015 federal election.
The MP says he has not ruled out another run for mayor in Hamilton.
“I wouldn’t exclude it,” Bratina said.
“I wouldn’t say that will never happen. I doubt it’ll happen. But who knows?”