Hamilton’s Transportation Task Force named


Published January 23, 2020 at 7:10 pm

On Thursday (Jan. 23), Ontario’s Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney revealed who will be heading up the Hamilton Transportation Task Force.

On Thursday (Jan. 23), Ontario’s Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney revealed who will be heading up the Hamilton Transportation Task Force.

The Task Force, working alongside the ministry of transportation, will provide recommendations on how best to spend  $1 billion the government has committed to building transportation infrastructure in Hamilton.

The group is expected to report back to the Minister by the end of February with its initial recommendations.

The $1 billion provincial investment was originally intended for the city’s massive LRT project that had been more than a decade in the works.

The Doug Ford government, however, abruptly cancelled Hamilton’s LRT project in mid-December, citing a report carried out by a third-party expert hired by the province that found the costs of the project were skyrocketing.

At the time it was cancelled, an estimated $184 million had already been spent in the early stages of the massive project. Approximately $80 million of that has been spent on full or partial purchases of properties along the proposed LRT corridors.

The Task Force is composed of four representatives from the Hamilton region and a representative of the City of Hamilton. The five members are:

Tony Valeri (Chair) – Vice President, Corporate Affairs at ArcelorMittal Dofasco, former federal Minister of Transport and former Member of Parliament.

Richard J. Brennan – Award-winning journalist who reported on politics including Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill for most of his 40-plus-year career.

Anthony V. Primerano – Director of Government Relations for the Labourers International Union of North America (LiUNA).

Dr. Saiedeh Razavi – Director of the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics (MITL), Associate Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, and the Chair in Heavy Construction at McMaster University.

Janette Smith – City Manager at the City of Hamilton and former Commissioner of Public Works and Commissioner of Health Services 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,” Mulroney said in a statement Thursday.

“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.”

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who has called the LRT cancellation a ‘betrayal,’ also issued a statement on Thursday in response to the announcement.

“I have always had confidence in citizen panels and an evidence-based approach to decision making,” Eisenberger said.

“Each selected individual is a respected member of our community, who has answered a call to serve their City. We will support their work in any way we can.”

Eisenberger goes on to express his disappointment in the province’s decision but says he’s hopeful the LRT in Hamilton isn’t quite dead.

“I remain disappointed by the Transportation Minister’s approach to informing the City of their cancellation of our LRT project but remain hopeful this task force will find the LRT is the best investment for the City of Hamilton,” he concluded.

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