Hamilton

Hamilton transportation task force has a new deadline of March 16

The task force deciding how to spend $1 billion in transportation money for Hamilton has two extra weeks to make its decision.

The task force is advising the province on how to spend $1B originally earmarked for LRT

This rendering shows what LRT would have looked like downtown. (City of Hamilton)

The task force deciding how to spend $1 billion in transportation money for Hamilton has two extra weeks to make its decision.

The group, which meets behind closed doors, had until the end of the week to decide how the Ministry of Transportation should spend $1 billion originally earmarked to build a light rail transit (LRT) system in Hamilton.

In a letter Monday, chair Tony Valeri said the group needs more time.

"Given the significance of this responsibility, there is consensus among all members that additional work is required before finalizing the preliminary list of transit and transportation projects," he said in a letter to Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney.

Mulroney agreed, and March 16 is the new deadline.

"People in Hamilton deserve transportation investments that are realistic and affordable," Mulroney said in a letter. "I appreciate the work that the task force is doing for the City of Hamilton."

The task force could choose road projects, transit projects or even LRT.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger, a staunch supporter of LRT, has said the task force isn't necessary when Hamilton has a democratically elected council.

Here's who sits on the task force:

Tony Valeri (chair): Valeri is vice president of corporate affairs at ArcelorMittal Dofasco. He is also a former Liberal MP who was a federal minister of transport in Paul Martin's government. 

Richard Brennan: Brennan is a retired journalist turned communications consultant who covered Queen's Park and Parliament Hill for the Toronto Star.

Anthony Primerano: He is director of government relations with the Labourers International Union of North America (LiUNA).

Saiedeh Razavi: She is director of the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics and an associate professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, as well as chair in heavy construction at McMaster.

Janette Smith: Smith is Hamilton's city manager. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Samantha Craggs is journalist based in Windsor, Ont. She is executive producer of CBC Windsor and previously worked as a reporter and producer in Hamilton, specializing in politics and city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca

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