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Governments of Canada, Ontario committing $3.4 billion to build Hamilton LRT


The governments of Canada and Ontario are committing $1.7 billion each to support construction of the Hamilton light rail transit (LRT) project. When operating, the LRT line will offer frequent and reliable service along a 14-kilometre, 17-stop route between Eastgate Square (mall) in the east and McMaster University in the west through downtown Hamilton. Passengers will enjoy an end-to-end commute time of 32 minutes.

According to a Government of Canada news release, “The Hamilton LRT is a shovel-ready project, which means construction can begin and jobs can be created immediately.” Canada has designated its investment only for building the LRT, meaning the City of Hamilton can’t use the fund another project and is subject to approval by the Treasury Board of Canada. The Government of Ontario will cover the project’s life cycle costs.

Although the City of Hamilton had proposed an LRT for many years, in March 2015, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that the Ontario government would provide as much as $1 billion to build the new light rail transit line in Hamilton. However, Ontario committed only to building a shorter line than Hamilton planned — between the future Queenston stop and McMaster. In 2018, the province approved a proposal to extend the line eastward to Eastgate Square.

Although Premier Doug Ford supported the project during the 2018 election campaign, in 2019, his government cancelled the project, claiming it was impossible to build for $1 billion. Ontario also struck a task force to recommend options for the City of Hamilton to spend the $1 billion that Ontario had promised the City. In April 2020, the task force recommended that an LRT or bus-rapid-transit line along the same route as the original LRT proposal was the best plan for proceeding.

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