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Mulroney gives Hamilton task force a month to report

Don Wall
Mulroney gives Hamilton task force a month to report
SHUTTERSTOCK

As Hamilton’s five-member Transportation Task Force gets to work this month preparing recommendations on how best to spend $1 billion on transportation projects, it’s a good bet that at least one member will be voting to resurrect the city’s LRT project.

On Jan. 23, Ontario Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney unveiled the membership of the Hamilton Transportation Task Force, mandated with advising the Ontario government “to help shape the future of transportation in Hamilton.”

Mulroney had promised the task force when she announced the cancellation of the LRT project on Dec. 16, citing ballooning costs.

One of several projects that LIUNA’s Labourers’ Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada has invested in in downtown Hamilton is the 30-storey Cobalt Luxury Residences on King, currently under construction. The Hamilton LRT, a project cancelled by the provincial government in December, would have run right past the residences on King Street.
DON WALL — One of several projects that LIUNA’s Labourers’ Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada has invested in in downtown Hamilton is the 30-storey Cobalt Luxury Residences on King, currently under construction. The Hamilton LRT, a project cancelled by the provincial government in December, would have run right past the residences on King Street.

One of the members of the task force is LIUNA director of government relations Anthony Primerano. The Labourers union, which has invested heavily in projects in downtown Hamilton, was one of the most vocal critics of the government decision after it was announced — and it appears nothing has changed.

“LIUNA has been an avid supporter of the Hamilton LRT and our unwavering support for this project remains,” stated Victoria Mancinelli, director of communications for LIUNA’s Central and Eastern Canada office, in emailed comments.

LIUNA international vice-president Joe Mancinelli had said in the aftermath of the cancellation announcement that LIUNA, which has made numerous investments in Hamilton’s downtown, would be conducting a study of the LRT budget numbers released by Mulroney.

“LIUNA also did a thorough study of the $5.5-billion number which is what the Ministry of Transportation had announced,” Victoria Mancinelli reported. “It proved to be an inflated number which included costs no other transit project in Ontario included, which we saw as an excuse to cancel the project.

“LIUNA remains a strong proponent of essential transit infrastructure beneficial to economic growth, development and job creation across the city of Hamilton, and we have great confidence in Anthony Primerano who will represent Hamilton and LIUNA proudly.”

In announcing the task force membership, Mulroney said it will report back with initial recommendations by the end of February.

Other members include:

  • Tony Valeri, task force chair — vice-president corporate affairs at ArcelorMittal Dofasco, former federal minister of transport and former Liberal MP;
  • Richard J. Brennan — retired Toronto Star reporter who reported on politics including Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill;
  • Saiedeh Razavi — director of the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics, Department of Civil Engineering associate professor and the chair in heavy construction at McMaster University; and
  • Janette Smith — city manager at the City of Hamilton and former commissioner of public works at the Region of Peel.

“The Hamilton Transportation Task Force will play a vital role in helping our government deliver $1 billion in transportation infrastructure investments in the City of Hamilton,” said Mulroney in the statement. “People in Hamilton deserve transportation investments that are realistic and affordable. I will work with the Task Force and the City of Hamilton to determine which projects best fit Hamilton’s transportation needs.”

 

Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.

Recent Comments (2 comments)

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Pier-Giorgio Image Pier-Giorgio

poor, poor Tony. This can’t end well for him. Live by the sword…..

Jocelyn Weatherbe Image Jocelyn Weatherbe

I have lived in 6 Canadian Cities and travelled in several other countries. I have used public transit including buses, streetcars, trams, trains, LRTs, and even an elevator in Lisbon. I firmly believe that good extensive public transit systems include all of those except the elevator.
Hamilton needs to intensify its urban housing stock to keep services affordable and to prevent further depletion of arable land in more suburban areas.
The LRT is the major part of this plan. As an added bonus here will be major improvements to to infrastructure along the route. Hamilton voted close to 70 times on various aspects of the LRT over recent years. The last election was largely a vote on the LRT and all those votes were YES LRT. Bring it back, it’s what the people of Hamilton have chosen.
Jocelyn Weatherbe

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