Fact Checking “Vito Facts”

LRT has been subjected to the spreading of a lot of FUD — Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. We will do our best to counter that with facts provided with both sources and context.

Fact Checking “Facts”

Actual Fact: The B-Line LRT has been planned as the first stage in the BLAST network since 2010 as noted in the Metrolinx document, Hamilton King-Main Benefits Case, which states:
“The B-line corridor fits into a long range vision that the City of Hamilton has for a rapid transit network referred to as the B-L-A-S-T network. This proposed long term rapid transit network.”
The Rapid Ready Report of 2013 states, clearly:
“Light Rail Transit (LRT), if introduced today, between McMaster University and Eastgate Square would perform with ridership in the mid-range of existing North American Systems.”
The Ten Year Local Transit Strategy is all about increasing service levels to be ready for LRT. The strategy isn’t to bail on a significant infrastructure investment but to get the job done. Let’s get the job done.
Actual Fact: It is true Hamilton has underfunded public transit. The Ten Year Local Strategy was developed expressly to address that reality. If we continue reading past a single paragraph picked from the Rapid Ready Report, what we find in the Ten Year Local Strategy adopted in 2015 is the plan to get there:
“Following the approval of Rapid Ready, on June 26, 2013 staff were directed to report back during the 2015 budget process on ‘a ten-year Hamilton local transit service level strategy, including specific route recommendations and a financial strategy, with reference to the role played by rapid transit, and with a goal of reaching 80 - 100 rides per capita by 2025.’"
LRT construction is scheduled for completion in 2024. We are on track.
Actual Fact: It is true transit corridors can be used to direct development. That is a strategic value of transit investment in and of itself. It is also true development is being pushed by LRT:
"There's a strong correlation between development interest we're seeing and the LRT project," he [Jason Thorne, City of Hamilton, Manager of Planning and Economic Development] said. "(Developers) are citing it as something that is encouraging them to invest where they're investing."
Actual Fact:
"According to an email response from Jessica Scott, Community Relations and Issues Specialist at Metrolinx, the agency has spent or committed $137 million between 2007 (yes, this project has been under development for 11 years now) and the end of July. That total includes $105 million already spent on the project, plus another $32 million in committed funds for engineering and design work, procurement tendering, project oversight, leased space and other associated costs. Of the $105 million already spent, $45 million is for property acquisitions along the LRT route that are necessary to build the line and stations. The rest has been for the original Environmental Assessment completed in 2011, the Environmental Project Report Addendum completed in 2017, and staff costs for this project over the past decade."
Actual Fact:
“It is true that the Doug Ford government has said the one billion committed to LRT is available for another transit or “approved” infrastructure project. However, that has always been true. Premier Ford is not saying anything different. Here is the process: the municipality develops a plan, performs the studies, conducts the consultations, observes the regulatory due diligence, and then asks the province for money. LRT is no different and neither will any future project be different. The financing is committed to LRT. It took 12 years, through three municipal and provincial elections, to get to where we are now—a year to shovels in the ground. If LRT is abandoned so is the investment. There is no guarantee that any new project developed over a reasonable amount of time will obtain the same level of capital funding."

Still can’t find an answer to your question? Reach out to us at [email protected] and we’ll do our best to help answer it!