Tories' Hamilton transportation task force will still 'consider' LRT
The task force will have a 'preliminary list of transportation projects' ready by late February
The Ford government says its task force on how to best spend $1 billion on Hamilton transportation projects will still consider light rail transit (LRT).
The transportation task force will "consider both transit and highway projects, including light rail transit," says Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney's office.
The minister's office also said the task force, which is looking at how to allocate $1 billion, will have a "preliminary list of transportation projects" ready by the end of February.
That could include options such as BRT, or bus rapid transit.
"Our government is open to reviewing all capital transportation projects, including LRT," Brittany Allison, senior communications advisor at the office of Caroline Mulroney, wrote to CBC.
Allison added the province will select four "community representatives" who are not elected, and the city is "invited" to include an additional non-elected member of its choice.
The office hopes to provide more details "in the weeks to come."
The task force was announced after the Ford government's abrupt cancellation of Hamilton's LRT project last month.
Mulroney said Ontario's cost estimates for the LRT had skyrocketed from $1 billion to more than $5 billion.
The initial $1 billion Metrolinx estimate only included the capital cost of building LRT. The $5.6 billion estimate the province produced includes provincial operating costs over 30 years ($983,926,505) and municipal operating costs over that time ($950,299,025).
The $5.5 billion dollar price tag was the government's rationale for killing the city's plans to construct the 14-kilometre track from McMaster University in the Hamilton's west end to Eastgate Square, despite it being in the works since 2007.
The cancellation also raised questions about what would be done with the roughly 65 properties Metrolinx purchased.
After the province's chaotic announcement, it revealed the launch of a task force to determine the best way to spend the $1 billion that had been earmarked for the LRT.
Metrolinx had already spent $165 million. Three consortiums were bidding to design, build, finance, operate and maintain it, and those bids were due in early 2020.