About

Hamilton has an historic opportunity to build a modern rapid transit system with the Ontario government paying the capital costs. Together we can make it happen!

Hamilton Light Rail is an independent group of citizens who believe that Hamilton needs an ambitious approach to economic development and urban revitalization based around high quality rapid transit. To that end, we are dedicated to promoting the goal of building a light rail transit (LRT) system in Hamilton.

This includes a campaign to educate Hamiltonians about the many benefits of light rail, provide evidence-based reports and resource materials, and build broad support across all sectors of the community: citizens’ groups, neighbourhood associations, business groups, and trade associations.

Hamilton Light Rail is strictly volunteer-based and is not affiliated with the Corporation of the City of Hamilton or with any commercial interests. We’re citizens who want Hamilton to enjoy the many benefits of light rail transit. To see the city’s official website for the Rapid Transit Office, click the following link:

http://www.hamiltonrapidtransit.ca/

History

Light Rail in Hamilton first started to look like a real possibility in 2007 when the Province announced MoveOntario 2020 (now Metrolinx), an arms-length provincial body dedicated to building integrated rapid transit throughout the GTA and Hamilton. The Ontario Liberal Party even campaigned for re-election in 2007 with the promise of two light rail lines in Hamilton.

After a grassroots campaign by Hamilton Light Rail and valuable independent research by city staff, Hamilton City Council voted unanimously in October 2008 to support an east-west light rail line. Since then, City staff in the Rapid Transit Office have undertaken the functional design and detail design of the B-Line, while Planning staff have been preparing a Secondary Plan for the B-Line that will support and encourage transit-oriented development.

In early 2010, Metrolinx released a Rapid Transit Benefits Case Analysis that clearly favoured Light Rail as a potent investment in urban vitality, economic development and improved quality of life. The Province also granted Hamilton $3 million to undertake a class Environmental Assessment as part of its LRT planning.

But earlier this year, a number of disparaging public comments by the Mayor began to cast doubt on the City’s commitment to finalizing its LRT planning and committing to construction. In mid-July, the City Manager issued an email to Council to advise that he had decided to “suspend all current direct and indirect activities of the Light Rail Transit Initiative other than any work activities required to be completed under the agreement” with the Province. By late August, the Mayor was saying on the radio that LRT is “not a priority” for the City.

In September, Premier Dalton McGuinty told the Hamilton Spectator that all-day GO train service “was the No. 1 ask of the city. We’ve had some important conversations with the mayor, and this is their priority, which made it our priority. Over time, we can enter into other discussions about things like the LRT.”

At this point, Hamilton Light Rail realized that Hamiltonians need to send a strong, clear message: LRT needs to be a top priority for completion as soon as reasonably possible.

The Rapid Transit Office plans to present a report to the General Issues Committee (all the members of council) on October 13 providing an update on the status of the LRT project.