4 major business associations get political by pledging support for LRT
Organizations offering #YesLRT signs to other supporters of the project
Hamilton's four leading business associations are weighing in on the city's municipal election by announcing they're on board with bringing LRT to Hamilton.
The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Realtor's Association of Hamilton-Burlington, Hamilton Halton Construction Association and the Hamilton Halton Home Builders' Association all pledged support for the project Wednesday as a way to address housing affordability issues in the city, according to a media release.
"Citywide benefits of B-Line LRT will be long-term and profound," added chamber president and CEO Keanin Loomis. "With all the development spurred by LRT, the city's tax revenue is expected to increase, meaning more money for municipal projects citywide."
At least two of the associations — the chamber of commerce and realtor's association — have already been vocal supporters of the project, which has become a major campaign issue for the city.
It's not just <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HamOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HamOnt</a>'s business leaders saying <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yesLRT?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#yesLRT</a>, but our labour leaders as well. When an issue unites both, you know it's the right thing to do! <a href="https://t.co/2O0gI3rPaH">https://t.co/2O0gI3rPaH</a>—@keaninloomis
Now the four organizations have joined forces to suggest increasing Hamilton's housing supply as a way to take on rising rent and property prices, stating the city has seen a "500% increase in new residential units in the downtown core over the past 6 years, much of which has been attributed by the developers themselves to the LRT project."
Another benefit, according to the associatons, is that the project marks the beginning of the BLAST network, which will eventually bring rapid transit to the entire city.
A sign of support
The groups also noted about $105 million has already been spent over the past 11 years to plan the project.
"To respect taxpayer dollars, address housing affordability, and to unlock the potential citywide benefits of this project,
Hamilton's business associations support the completion of the B-Line LRT," read their release.
In order to make their stance even more visible, the organizations are offering signs bearing the slogan #YesLRT.
Incumbent mayoral candidate Fred Eisenberger is a supporter of LRT. Candidate Vito Sgro, a Hamilton business owner is opposed and has built his campaign around stopping the project and a promise to get the money earmarked for it from the province to use for other transit and infrastructure projects.