HAMILTON, ONT. — The Hamilton-Halton Construction Association (HHCA) recently announced it has joined forces with three other business organizations to support the Hamilton LRT project in advance of the Oct. 22 municipal election.
A statement issued Oct. 16 links construction of the $1-billion LRT project, slated to start in 2019 after a contract is awarded that year, with affordable housing.
The HHCA allies are the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington and the Hamilton-Halton Home Builders’ Association. The LRT has been a major issue of the Hamilton mayoralty campaign with incumbent Mayor Fred Eisenberger supporting the project and prominent challenger Vito Sgro advocating against it, with funding to be allocated to other infrastructure and transit projects instead.
The statement from the business groups said, “The partners recognize that housing affordability is a complex problem facing the City of Hamilton, and increasing housing supply is an important component of the solution. To this end, Hamilton has seen a 500 per cent increase in new residential units in the downtown core over the past six years, with many developers attributing investment directly to the LRT project.
“The partners also recognize that the LRT project promises city-wide benefits. The Canadian Urban Institute estimates the B-Line LRT will generate $81.6 million in increased city revenue over the next 15 years, and the B-Line LRT is just the first project of the planned BLAST network, a 25-year transit strategy that will bring rapid transit to all corners of the city.”
Commented HHCA chair Kim McCarthy in the statement, “The B-Line LRT will be a transformative project for Hamilton, driving investment from the private sector and ultimately increasing the city’s tax revenue. Revenue that could be used for affordable housing projects and to reduce the city’s infrastructure deficit.”
The partners said that with more than 11 years and $105 million invested in the LRT project, they “support its completion to respect taxpayer dollars, address housing affordability, unlock the potential city-wide benefits of this project and build for the future of our Ambitious City.”