Hamilton's light rail transit (LRT) system will run through the lower city. How is that supposed to help people on the Mountain?

The province is giving Hamilton $1 billion for LRT. What happens if the city doesn't take it? And what will LRT do for Hamilton's economy?

We asked these questions and more in a Facebook Live event on Tuesday, looking to separate fact and opinion on the controversial project. Andrew Hope, Metrolinx director for Hamilton LRT, and Paul Johnson, the city's LRT project co-ordinator, joined CBC Hamilton reporter Samantha Craggs. 

Here are some facts:

  • Hamilton has been discussing light rail transit for about 10 years. Landmark moments include in 2008, when the city had a rapid transit office that conducted a multi-phase feasibility study. The city has also done a 30 per cent design study. 
  • The province has provided $1 billion for LRT in Hamilton. Metrolinx says that will cover the capital cost of building the system. This comes after several requests from council.
  • The proposed system will run from McMaster University to the Queenston traffic circle. From McMaster to the 403 and the Delta to the Queenston traffic circle, it will run on Main Street. In the other sections, it will run on King Street east.
  • It will also run down James Street North from King Street East to the West Harbour GO station, or the waterfront, budget permitting.
  • Metrolinx is building the system with input from the city.
  • Construction will start in 2019 and take five years. The system will open in 2024.
  • The money is part of the Moving Ontario Forward fund, which the province says in the GTHA can only be used for rapid transit.
  • City council will vote in September to formally accept the $1 billion

Watch the conversation. (On mobile? Click here to watch the video.):

RELATED: 10 answers to burning questions about LRT in Hamilton

LRT

The design has LRT running in the same lanes as cars on James Street North. (City of Hamilton)

LRT

A rendering shows LRT in the central lower city near Tim Hortons Field stadium. (City of Hamilton)

LRT rendering

This rendering shows what LRT could look like in west Hamilton. (Metrolinx/City of Hamilton)

samantha.craggs@cbc.ca | @SamCraggsCBC