Light rail transit (LRT) supporters can look forward to shovels in the ground as soon as the middle of next year now that Hamilton city council has ratified a key milestone.
In a repeat of a Sept. 8 decision by the general issues committee, council voted 11-3 on Wednesday to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Metrolinx and the provincial government.
“It’s going to provide employment and opportunity,” says mayor Fred Eisenberger, “the kind of intensification and housing development, and commercial development, that talks about the renewal of our city.”
The MOU says that the provincial and federal governments will pay the $3.4-billion cost of building the 14-kilometre LRT line from McMaster University to Eastgate Square.
The city will keep farebox revenue, once the line is up and running, and will be responsible for operating costs and day-to-day maintenance, which have been estimated between $6 million and $16 million each year.
Another 30 properties still need to be purchased or expropriated by Metrolinx, prior to the start of construction.
“I know that MTO and Metrolinx are ready and poised to start moving aggressively,” says Eisenberger, “to fulfill this project and get some of this underground preparatory work done, so that we can get shovels in the ground,” hopefully by the middle of 2022.