City councillors vote to sign agreement to build Hamilton LRT line

Hamilton’s light rail transit (LRT) project has cleared a defining hurdle.

City councillors have voted 11-3 to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Metrolinx and the province to build a 14-kilometre light rail transit line from McMaster University to Eastgate Square.

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Mayor Fred Eisenberger moved the motion, during a meeting of the general issues committee on Wednesday, saying “this MOU brings us one step closer to a brighter future for our collective city of Hamilton.”

“A cleaner, more sustainable future with significant, expanded and improved public transportation,” says Eisenberger, “that will be reliable, equitable, and will provide jobs and opportunity and development for many years to come.”

The provincial and federal governments have committed to paying the $3.4-billion cost of construction of Hamilton’s LRT line.

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Feds, province confirm $1.7 billion each for Hamilton LRT

Metrolinx, the province’s transportation agency, will own the project and have the final say in selecting an operator.

The city will keep the fare box revenue once LRT is up and running, to offset its responsibility for operating and maintenance costs, which have been estimated at between $6.4 and $16.5 million per year.

Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster says utility-oriented “early works” could begin as soon as 2022.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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