It wasn’t that long ago that Hamilton’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) project was considered dead and buried.
Tuesday (May 11), the federal government breathed new life into the proposed LRT line — which had already received financial support from the province.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced more than $12 billion would go to public transit projects in Ontario.
He said the money will go toward four subway projects in the Greater Toronto Area and one rapid-transit project in Hamilton.
“This $12 billion in funding means people will get where they need to go faster, all with tens of thousands fewer cars on the road daily,” Trudeau said.
The LRT line in Hamilton will go from McMaster University, through downtown, to Eastgate Centennial Park in Stoney Creek. It will cover 14-kilometres with 17 stops.
The project will not need a new environmental assessment and shovels are expected in the ground by 2023.
Approximately 7,000 jobs are expected to be created for the construction of the project.
“Rapid transit shortens commutes which gives parents more time with their kids and ensures kids will inherit a cleaner future,” Trudeau added. “Public transit is at the heart of a strong recovery and a growing middle class.”
The federal and provincial governments will split the bill, with each contributing $1.7-billion.
The City of Hamilton, meanwhile, will have to agree to take on operating costs.
Former premier Kathleen Wynne had committed $1 billion to Hamilton LRT in 2015 but it was cancelled by Doug Ford’s government four years later.
Earlier this year, the province said it would fund a smaller, nine-kilometre line if the federal government agreed to kick in money.
Meanwhile, the remainder of the $12 billion federal investment will go to the GTA.
The Ontario Line project in Toronto will bring rapid transit from Exhibition Place, through downtown, to the Ontario Science Centre.
The second project for the Greater Toronto Area is the Eglinton Crosstown West extension, which will create a continuous rapid transit line along Eglinton Avenue between Scarborough and Mississauga.
The third and fourth transit projects in the GTA are the Yonge Street North Subway extension and the Scarborough Subway extension.
Part of the funding will also go toward buying zero-emissions streetcars for the Toronto Transit Commission, Trudeau added.
–with files from The Canadian Press