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 The History of the Hamilton LRT

The History of the Hamilton LRT

Introduction

Ideas for higher level mass transit along the King/Main/Queenston corridor have been around for decades. In the 1960 report on the proposal for the City of Hamilton to buy the Hamilton Street Railway from its private owner, it was pointed out that at the current rate of growth, the city of Hamilton should begin planning for the construction of a Hamilton subway between McMaster University and a location in Stoney Creek via the downtown core in the early 1980s, with additional lines along James and Ottawa streets.

Map of proposed Hamilton subway

Map of proposed Hamilton subway. (From Upper Canada Railway Society Newsletter, April 1960)

This rate of growth did not last, the idea of some type rapid transit running east-west through the downtown of would resurface several times during the 1970s. While the proposed Intermediate Capacity Transit System (ICTS) in the late 1970s and early 1980s was to be built to transport Hamiltonians down the mountain to the downtown core, it was noted that a second ICTS line running east-west through the downtown would be a logical phase two of the project. In 1986 the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) would take the first step towards rapid transit by creating the #10 BEELINE Express, running from Eastgate Square through the downtown to McMaster University.

Hamilton’s Transportation Master Plan, completed in February 2007, introduced the BLAST network: A series of rapid transit corridors in Hamilton.

  • B Line - named after the HSR's 10 BEELINE route, running from Eastgate Square through the downtown to McMaster University
  • L Line - running along York Blvd, Plains Rd and Hwy 6, between the downtown and Waterdown
  • A Line - running along James St and Upper James from the Waterfront to Hamilton Airport via Mohawk College
  • S Line - running along Centennial parkway, Rymal and Garner to the Ancaster Fairgrounds
  • T Line - running along Kenilworth, the Kenilworth access, Upper Ottawa and Mohawk Rd to Ancaster

Hamilton’s BLAST Network map

The Beginning

The beginnings of the current Hamilton LRT project date back to June 15, 2007, with the announcement by the Province of Ontario's Greater Toronto Transportation Authority (GTTA) of it's MoveOntario 2020 project, a $17.5 Billion plan to improve transit in Ontario. 2/3 of the construction costs would be borne by the province, with the hope that Ottawa would be able to chip in for the rest. Municipalities would only be on the hook for operating costs. Two of the proposed projects were some form of rapid transit in both the B Line and A Line corridors. The GTTA would be renamed Metrolinx in December.

An immediate quick fix to improve transit service in the B Line corridor was provincial funds from MoveOntario 2020 allowing for the purchase of 6 New Flyer Industries DE60LFR (HSR #0610-0616) large articulated or 'Bendy' buses to improve service.

The choice for the type of rapid transit was left up to the municipalities. In January 2008, Hamilton’s public works department hired a consultant to prepare a Rapid Transit Feasibility Study comparing two options: Bus Rapid Transit or Light Rail Transit. In April the study was presented first to Hamilton city council and then to the people. Two public information centres were held so Hamiltonians could make a decision in June as to which form of transit they wanted. At the first meeting it was announced that the proposed study area had been extended west from McMaster to University Plaza in Dundas.

Hamiltonians were generally in favour of light rail over Bus rapid transit, with 71% of comments made as part of the city's invitation to comment supporting it. Based on the high level of public support in mid June the public works committee ordered a feasibility study over the summer, which was sent to Metrolinx and incorporated into their 'Big Move' plan announced on September 23. Hamilton's quick work meant that the east-west rapid transit line was one of the projects shortlisted by Metrolinx to go ahead, although the type of transit wasn't specified.

Hamilton city staff had hoped that construction might begin as soon as 2011. However Metrolinx announced on October 14 that while Hamilton had made quick progress, at the earliest construction would not begin until 2012, as other projects in Toronto and York region were closer to being ready to start construction. As well, Metrolinx said that they would only fund a 'bare bones system', and that Hamilton would have to add funds if they wanted anything additional.

Regardless of these comments, The city’s public works committee voted unanimously on October 20 to push Metrolinx to include an east-west (LRT) line in their upcoming budget. As predicted, in the final draft and budget of the Big Move announced on November 28, the B-line was called a Category C project based on its level of completeness, and so would compete for funding with 10 other projects, with a start date of around 2012. Metrolinx expected to determine the type of transit by the following summer. Initial estimated costs were $650 million

Delays, delays, delays

Over the winter of 2008/2009 the City of Hamilton began a series of studies in the hope that they would support the LRT option in the Metrolinx analysis, covering topics like archaeology, natural heritage, economic spinoff, technology, etc. On April 1 the province gave Hamilton $3 million to fund the city’s environmental assessments, design and public consultations. Also in April the city made some of the first moves towards acquiring land needed for the project.

However, Metrolinx's decision on the type of mass transit to be built was repeatedly delayed. From July 2009 the decision was pushed back first to November, then to January 2010, then February. Multiple reasons were given for these delays, including changes to the Metrolinx board and delays caused by other studies taking longer than anticipated. A further complication occurred on November 6 2009 with the announcement that Toronto had been selected to host the 2015 Pan-Am games. Hamilton was part of this bid, and would be the site of the football matches.

In addition to the delays, concerns were being raised now that some of the preliminary design work being done by the city was reaching completion and citizens were objecting to some of the proposals. City staff had identified that converting Main and King Streets back to two way operation and putting the route along King Street was the preferred option, because it allowed for increased development along the route and would turn Main street into the primary traffic route across the city, as the roadway was wider. There would also be parking and left turn restrictions. These changes to traffic patterns raised concerns with affected residents and businesses. In early January 2010 Business owners in downtown Hamilton called for the retention of one way streets and that the rapid transit line be split between Main and King streets. Council would agree to this request.

In February it was announced that the western end of the rapid transit project under study would end at McMaster as originally planned and not University Plaza in Dundas.

On February 14, Metrolinx released a benefits case analysis for Hamilton's future rapid transit system. It stated that a light rail line would cut the cost of commuting by $852 million, vs $313 million for bus rapid transit. The benefits included savings in travelling time for transit and auto users, decreased costs of vehicle operation for drivers and the savings from reduced accidents, over a span of three decades. With this report, the estimated cost rose to $784 Million. However, Metrolinx again did not endorse a mode of transit, postponing that decision until the fall.

Critics suggested that the province was dragging out the process so that the province could keep it's earlier promised transit expansion plans while not raising taxes to cover the large recession created deficits at the time, in the lead up to the provincial election that would happen in October 2011.

However, the city decided to press on with Light Rail. In May the city hired Steer Davies Gleave, an international transportation consulting firm, to start the planning process. In July a Rapid Transit Citizens Advisory Committee was created. The city’s public works department created a rapid transit office, overseen by Jill Stephen. In an attempt to get as much out of the project as possible, city planners created focus groups to

On November 4, Stephen announced that the delays by the province had now made it impossible to complete the LRT before the start of the 2015 Pan-am games. As a result the city would focus on getting all preliminary work done so that construction could begin as soon as the games ended.

Public outreach

On January 10, 2011, financial preliminary financial estimates suggested that an LRT would require the city to chip in $130 Million towards capital costs, and that the operating costs would be $20-23 Million per year. This preliminary value did not include any additional revenues from increased property assessments or economic growth. These numbers resulted in backlash from several city councillors over the costs.

On January 11 at the Hamilton convention centre, city planners unveiled their vision for what the downtown would look like with transit oriented development in place. This was followed by a series of workshops later in January outlining the transit stops and traffic flows. The proposed line included 17 stops at an average of around 800 meters apart and a travel time across town of 31 minutes.

This was followed in June by a series of workshops allowing citizens to discuss designs and bylaws regarding transit stop related features such as building heights and density. The environmental assessment process began on June 17.

Opposition

It was at this point that political opposition to the LRT began to coalesce. Mayor Bob Bratina was more concerned with getting all-day GO transit train service connecting Hamilton and Toronto than with the rapid transit project, and several city councillors had expressed concerns with the costs, despite Metrolinx stating that both projects were available, and it was not an 'either-or' situation. In July, city manager Chris Murray directed city staff to only do LRT work that was directly required by the province, while diverting city resources towards securing all-day GO service. This would be followed by Jill Stephen leaving the rapid transit office on September 22 to join the transportation planning office in Niagara region. Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty confirmed that all-day GO service was the province's priority, based on Bratina's lead.

Council responded to this by voting to demand that the province confirm that they would indeed fully fund the capital costs of the two rapid transit lines. Metrolinx responded saying that it could not make a response because of the then ongoing provincial election, and was way too soon to comment on funding as the city had not yet completed its design work.

On October 13, a report to council stated that the city's hard work over the previous months had now pushed Hamilton's transit project well ahead of other cities in its category, and that additional funding from Metrolinx was requested for the coming year. The cost of the LRT option had increased to $875 Million, rising to $1.02 Billion if worst case scenarios such as upgrades on the Queenston Rd bridge over the Red Hill Creek Parkway. BRT was now at $264 Million. Council approved the funds for 2012 on the same day.

At this point the rapid transit office was combined into the Hamilton transportation office under Don Hull, along with the HSR, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. City work towards the LRT project continued in 2012, but remained out of the public eye for the most part. This included studies regarding noise and vibration impacts on sensitive equipment at McMaster University, An environmental assessment on the proposed storage and maintenance facility, and more detailed cost studies.

On November 29, Metrolinx announced the second wave of transit priorities under the Big Move initiative, of which the Hamilton rapid transit was one of them. However Metrolinx also said that the province would not be able to fully fund the transit projects, and that municipalities would have to contribute some funds. In response, on February 25, 2013, City council approved a report that would be used to try and convince Metrolinx to fully fund the Hamilton LRT.

On March 3 Metrolinx stated that the ability of a city to contribute funds to transit construction would have an impact on the order of construction. This was contradicted by Ontario Transport Minister Glen Murray, who said that Hamilton would not have to make a direct capital contribution, a statement that was later withdrawn and clarified that Hamilton would have to contribute, but not so much that it would be required to raise taxes and instead could rely on new revenue sources with the province's help. Some of these new revenue tools were outlined on April 2, when Metrolinx released a list of 11 proposed revenue sources to help fund The Big Move. These included development fees, a local gas tax, fees for HOV lane access for single driver cars, highway tolls and land value capture.

On April 17 mayor Bratina's opposition to the LRT reached a new height when he claimed that he had been told by Premier Kathleen Wynne at a fundraiser that Hamilton had to choose between LRT or all-day GO train service. It was later confirmed that Bratina did in fact not attend the fundraiser, and that none of the other members of council that did attend it had been given this message, and that the premier's office denied Bratina's claim and stated that the LRT and all day GO Train service were not competing projects.

Council would ultimately reject the proposed methods of raising additional revenue, demanding that the province stick to its promise to pay all capital costs. At a meeting on May 12 during a motion to affirm support for the LRT project and to get Mayor Bratina onboard with council's wishes for an LRT line, councillor Russ Powers would become the first member to formally oppose the rapid transit project on the grounds of cost. As the months passed, opposition would start to increase from other councillors.

Opposition continued to grow to the point that in 2014 the LRT became an election issue, both municipally and provincially. Members of council began calling for an examination of BRT as an alternative and reconsidering their support for LRT. During the 2014 provincial election several provincial politicians chimed in, ranging from support (NDP) to calls to cancel the entire project (Conservative). However, the Liberal party won re-election, and plans continued as before. A meeting between provincial and municipal leaders on July 25 confirmed the Liberal government's promise to fully fund the capital costs of the rapid transit project, but still refused to specify LRT or BRT.

As the mayoral race heated up in the fall of 2014, Councillor and Mayoral candidate Brad Clark called for the scrapping of the LRT project, replacing it with BRT. Councillor and Mayoral candidate Brian McHattie and former Mayor Fred Eisenberger were both pro-LRT. Eisenberger would go on to win the election. But the number of councillors in favour of LRT had dropped, with now 9 against it.

On January 26, 2015 Mayor Eisenberger met with Premier Wynne to discuss Hamilton's rapid transit. Wynne reaffirmed the province's promise to pay 100% of the capital costs, but again there was no commitment as to the type of transit.

On February 12 city staff unveiled a new 10 year transit strategy. Part of this strategy involved asking the province for $302 M to purchase 80 new buses and to built a new maintenance facility for those buses, on top of the $811M estimated cost for the LRT. Asking for even more transit funds on top of the rapid transit project lead several members of council to express concerns that this was too much and the province might say no to both, but council approved the strategy on March 6.

As part of his campaign, Mayor Eisenberger had promised the formation of a citizen's jury that would review transit issues and make recommendations for either LRT or BRT. The panel was announced on March 30. The 2015 provincial budget released on April 23 included a promise of funds for Hamilton starting in 2018, but refused to say how much, or for what project, or for LRT or BRT.

Metrolinx makes its decision

On May 26, 2015 at a press conference at McMaster University, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced funding for an LRT line in Hamilton. $1 Billion dollars was allocated for an 11 km line from McMaster University to the Queenston traffic circle along Main Street West, King, and Main Street East. Also a short spur line would be built on James from King to the new GO station (Now West Harbour GO). Construction would begin in 2019 with a planned opening in 2024. (There was no discussion of the $302 Million request for buses and a bus maintenance facility at the time, but it would be approved in July 2021) With the funding announcement, several of the councillors who were previous nay-sayers changed their minds.

With the announcement, city staff began meeting with their Metrolinx counterparts. Issues had to be resolved such as who was in charge of what parts of the project and who exactly was going to pay for what. A proposed pedestrian walkway from the LRT stop at MacNab through the MacNab terminal and via MacNab and Hunter to the Hunter St GO station was showcased. Real estate agents and developers even began advertising their homes' proximity to the LRT.

A report released August 5 recommended that the James St Spur should be extended all the way to the waterfront. It also recommended rehiring Steer Davies Gleave to complete any needed design work, such as the James St spur. As well, an LRT office and council subcommittee would be formed. The proposed maintenance facility for the LRT would be the old city garage at Wentworth St, which would require its own access tracks. The tentative project schedule was described as 'aggressive', with a tender call by 2017 and shovels in the ground in 2019. As the province was footing the bill, Metrolinx would have the final say in most aspects of the design of the LRT. The city would have the say in such things as the rebuilding of water and sewer lines. Metrolinx promised to listen and try to accommodate Hamilton's wishes, but reserved the final say.

In September, Metrolinx brought a partial mockup LRT car to Hamilton to display at that year's James Street Supercrawl, and in October to Hamilton City hall.

In order to prevent rushed developments along the route before transit-friendly zoning laws could be applied, city council banned most new developments along the LRT route for one year, starting in November 2015. The crossing of the 403 would be done on a new bridge, running from Main St west near the Beverley Hills apartments east of Macklin to King St near Cathedral park. The new LRT team began setting up on the 4th floor of the Hamilton GO Centre in early January 2016. Although the actions of the province had made their role mostly redundant, the citizen's jury set up by Mayor Eisenberger released their report on February 12.

On April 27, the preliminary designs were put on display. The largest change was that the previous commitment to keeping King & Main streets one way was abandoned. King St would be downgraded from its role as a primary arterial road through International village, with the intention that cross town vehicular traffic be routed through the downtown on Main St. Instead of an LRT line running on the side of King and Main, twin tracks would run down the middle of King. The number of stops was reduced from 15 to 13, with the elimination of one of two stops at McMaster and another at the Delta. The James St spur would be in mixed traffic.

On May 2 it was announced in a city council meeting that the LRT would impact 250 properties, or approximately 1/4 of the properties along the route. In most cases it would require the expropriation of a few square meters, similar to a road widening. But 60-70 properties would have more serious impacts, up to expropriation and demolition. This meeting also caused several council members to start taking a firmer stance for or against the LRT project, Councillor Chad Collins taking the strongest anti-LRT position and calling for a referendum. Councillor Sam Merulla called for a vote to 'reaffirm acceptance' of the $1 Billion for the LRT. This would result in former Hamilton politicians, and even members of the federal and provincial governments giving support to the LRT, and the pages of the Hamilton Spectator filled with many opinion pieces both for and against. This motion was pushed back several times, with it finally being cancelled on October 25.

In late July, planners added a stop in International village at the request of local residents. The study of traffic impacts caused by the LRT was released on August 3. According to the analysis the traffic impact of the LRT would be minimal, with paralleling streets such as Cannon and Barton being able to take up the load.

Map of proposed B-Line LRT to Queenston Traffic circle with James St Spur

Map of proposed B-Line LRT to Queenston Traffic circle with James St Spur

In September the first of the Public information Centres to inform Hamiltonians of the decisions and plans for the LRT was held. 6 identical sessions were held across the city. Also in September was the announcement that negotiations for a level crossing of the Canadian Pacific Railway line in east Hamilton at King and East Bend had unsuccessful, and that an underpass would instead be constructed. As well, plans for the LRT maintenance facility were altered, and instead of using the old city garage at 330 Wentworth, a new facility would be built on the site of the former Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway roundhouse south of Chatham street. The facility would be connected via tracks over the Longwood bridge and a new extension of Frid street, work on both of which would end up receiving provincial funds.

In December, planners added another stop to the LRT line, this one at Gage Park. This stop had been originally part of the proposal, but was removed by Metrolinx. As well, planners were considering the possibility of adding Park & Ride facilities to stops in the east end. The second round of Public information Centres happened in Mid January 2017 at three locations with updated plans. At the PIC it was announced that road widenings for part of York St and Main St west would be needed, and that bike lanes along York and Dundurn would likely have to be removed to handle the increased traffic flow on those streets. The request for an additional stop at Bay street would cost and additional $2.6 Million plus expropriation and demolition costs. Council would vote down this suggestion on February 15 due to concerns about scope creep, only for two councillors to reverse their votes on February 23.

On February 2, Metrolinx announced that it was replacing the proposed James North LRT spur with a Bus Rapid Transit A-line, connecting the waterfront with the airport. Metrolinx decided that Hamilton mountain could not wait so long for improved transit in the area, and that the James north Spur was too short to make much operational sense in it's current planned form. Removing the spur from the LRT project would save approximately $125 Million. Planning and studies for the full A-line would take 2-3 years. Several councillors, including those who had advocated for BRT in the past, objected to this plan.

Map of proposed A-Line BRT and B-Line LRT

Map of proposed A-Line BRT and B-Line LRT

On March 13, the city's LRT team released it's final design and environmental report on the LRT. The submission vote for this report to Metrolinx was to be held on March 28, but council voted to push it back to April, due to the large size of the report. Contained in the report were issues such as the traffic analysis had revealed a 60% increase in traffic along Aberdeen Avenue, another was that the estimate expropriation costs had doubled to over $70 Million. Several members of council voiced their opposition to the LRT project over uncertainties in the report. With the possibility that council would not support passing on the report to Metrolinx and cancelling the project de facto, hundreds rallied at city hall on April 15 in support of the LRT. The vote was postponed on April 19 for one week, during which time councillor Terry Whitehead who lead opposition to the LRT vote was willing to vote in favour only if Eastgate Square was restored as the eastern terminus, using the funds saved from the cancellation of the James St spur. The province agreed, and the vote passed 10-5 on April 26.

The return of Eastgate as the terminus had several advantages, namely that land would not have to be expropriated near the Queenston Traffic Circle, instead the Eastgate bus terminal could be used. The decision did put the A-line BRT on hold as there were now no allocated funds for it. Fortunately the original proposal written in 2011 was detailed enough and recent enough for it to be used as a basis for environmental work, and the updated environmental report was submitted to the province on May 26. The environmental assessment for the revised LRT plan was approved by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment on August 3.

In June Local 107 of the Amalgamated Transit Union made a push that they should operate the LRT and not Metrolinx, citing terms contained in their contracts with the city of Hamilton. Councillor Matt Green took up this request and on August 9 council voted to back the union and asked Metrolinx to put the HSR in charge of operation and maintenance of the LRT. The province had no objections in principal, but the request came so late in the process that it delayed the tendering process making it impossible to start construction work in 2018 and when Metrolinx responded on November 27 they said they were willing to let the HSR operate the LRT, but not maintain it, and asked council to reconsider their request. On December 18 council dropped their request, but asked that private sector drivers be paid union wages and be represented by ATU 107.

On April 3, 2018, Ontario Conservative party leader (and future premier) Doug Ford stated that while he supports an LRT, the province would accept their wishes regarding what to do with the LRT funds. This statement prompted several councillors to once again rethink their position on the LRT.

On April 13, the province released the Request For Proposals for the LRT to three pre-qualified consortia: Cityline Transit Group, Ei8ht Transit, and Mobilinx. Throughout the summer Metrolinx continued to acquire properties, but on August 29 it announced a freeze on land acquisitions, citing a provincial spending freeze by the recently elected Conservative government. This freeze left many residents who were being moved out of buildings that were being expropriated in limbo.

As well, LRT was once again a political issue, this time in the 2018 municipal election. Mayor Eisenberger won re-election, but the number of pro and anti-LRT members of council remained unchanged.

At the end of January 2019, a series of notes from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request revealed concerns that the resurrection of the Eastgate Terminus had caused the price of the LRT to exceed the $1 Billion dollars allocated. Flamborough-Glanbrook MPP and former Hamilton councillor Donna Skelly said that the city would be on the hook for any cost overruns, later saying that that was her opinion, and not policy. Again, this resulted in anti-LRT members of council raising objections to the project. On March 13 federal Environment minister Catherine McKenna raised the possibility of federal funds being contributed to the LRT.

On March 28, transportation minister Jeff Yurek announced that the spending freeze had been lifted, and land acquisition could resume after 7 months. Minister Yurek also announced that the Request For Proposals deadline had been extended by 6 months in light of the province's spending freeze, and construction would be estimated to start in late 2020 with major work beginning in 2021. Metrolinx immediately got back to work on the land front, purchasing the site of the LRT maintenance facility for $4.5 Million on April 2

The first LRT related construction got underway in late October, with the relocation of a oil pipeline at Queenston Rd and Strathearne owned by Trans Northern Pipelines. It was moved in order to provide extra room under the road for the LRT's foundation. By the start of December Metrolinx had bought 2/3 of the 90 properties required, and announced it would start building demolition next spring.

Collapse

On December 16, 2019, the Ford government abruptly cancelled the Hamilton LRT without warning. Transportation minister Catherine Mulroney's press conference in Hamilton was cancelled when Mayor Eisenberger and councillors arrived and were refused entry, as they had not been invited. When Eisenberger entered, the conference was cancelled. The Ford government claimed that a third party analysis revealed that the cost of the LRT project had climbed from $1 Billion to $5.5 Billion. This number included 30 years of operating and maintenance costs, costs that are not regularly included in the costs of a capital project. The province refused to release the details of the analysis, claiming confidentiality concerns.

By this point Metrolinx had spent $162 Million on the LRT. Mulroney announced that a task force would be created to determine the best use of the still available $1 Billion. Eisenberger had been made aware of the cost overruns back in September, but claimed that the information provided was too preliminary and incomplete to justify going to council with, and no warning had been given that the province was thinking of cancelling the project. Eisenberger released the copy of confidential cost documents that had been given to him on December 12. Eisenberger said the numbers could not be released because of the bidding process going on at the time, but as the project had been cancelled he could now do so. Oddly the capital costs included a relatively large $510 Million for contingency costs.

The cancellation had a number of ripple effects. McMaster University's planned HSR/GO/LRT transit terminal was cancelled, as was the Longwood bridge rebuild. Several developers had already begun construction on new buildings to take advantage of the LRT, and there were no immediate cancellations. LIUNA announced that because of the large number of jobs both direct and spin off that had just been lost, they would conduct their own independent analysis of the LRT project. Over the coming weeks both the Hamilton Chamber of commerce and LIUNA would cancel invitations for the provincial government to attend special events.

On December 20, the Auditor General's office announced that they would be investigating cost estimates of transit projects in Ontario, including the now cancelled LRT. This investigation was done on behalf of NDP leader and Hamilton MPP Andrea Horvath, who pointed out that the new cost per kilometre estimates were several times larger than the costs for other transit projects in Ontario, such as the Hurontario LRT in Mississauga, the recently completed ION in Kitchener Waterloo, and the proposed Finch west LRT in Toronto.

On January 7, 2020 the Toronto Star revealed through leaked Metrolinx documents that two of the consortia bidding on the LRT project, Cityline and Ei8ht, had in fact backed out months prior due to concerns over a lack of provincial and municipal support, a fact that was not shared with the City of Hamilton. The documents also stated that Infrastructure Ontario believed that the cost of the LRT project would be $1 Billion until the fall of 2019. The company that performed the third party analysis was found to be Turner & Townsend, who had been hired by Infrastructure Ontario in the Summer of 2019 to investigate the LRT project. The spike in costs was due to increased costs for vehicles, construction costs, financing and contingencies.

Now Metrolinx was faced with dozens of expropriated buildings that were no longer needed to be torn down for the LRT. Calls were made by city hall to hand over the properties so they could be turned into low income housing. Metrolinx refused, saying that the buildings were unfit for habitation because some had been vacant and unheated for two years.

On January 23 the five members of the provincial task force met for the first time. Lead by Tony Valeri, VP of ArcelorMittal Dofasco, the task force comprised of city manager Janette Smith, journalist Richard Brennan, Civil Engineering Professor Saiedeh Razavi from McMaster University, and LIUNA director Anthony Primerano. The discussions of the task force were kept secret by the province, although Smith was allowed to discuss items with council as long as that meeting was kept under wraps as well. Several meetings of the task force were held, and a suggested list of projects was submitted to the province just as shutdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Resurrection

Like with most things, the pandemic brought the task force from in person to online meetings, and the work continued at a slower pace. On April 9 the province released the task force's recommendations. The task force made 4 recommendations, in order from most preferred to least: 1) that the LRT be built as planned; 2) that a shorter LRT be built if there were insufficient funds; 3) a BRT be built; 4) Railway tracks be built to permit GO trains to reach Hamilton for 15 minute service. The province responded by ordering a technical review of the LRT project, but the review was slowed by the pandemic.

At the end of July the federal government said that they would be willing to contribute funds to the LRT as part of the Covid rebuild. On August 25 LIUNA stated that they had completed their analysis, and based on it they were willing to be a partner on the project. Options for what that partnership would look like included $250M in contributing funds in exchange for building rights along the route or a slice of farebox revenues over 30 years.

On August 8, the Hamilton Spectator received a heavily redacted copy of the report by Turner & Townsend via a FOIA request. The report stated that the capital costs of the line would be $1.3 Billion, with a large contingency cost of $510 Million, and the lifetime maintenance and operating costs would be $1.3 Billion. Nowhere in the report was there a mention of $5.5 Billion.

On September 11, Metrolinx announced that it would begin demolition of the houses expropriated for the LRT, due to safety concerns. Initially 21 houses would be demolished. Attempts to transfer the homes to the city for use as affordable housing had been unsuccessful because of laws regarding the use of provincial funds, but 37 of the buildings would be leased out with short term leases until a final decision was reached regarding rapid transit. Demolition began on December 3 near King and Fairleigh. Martin's Bowling at King & Sherman would be demolished in mid January 2021.

On December 7, Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk released a value for money audit on Metrolinx projects, calling the $5.5 Billion estimated cost 'reasonable'. Construction costs doubled with the return of Eastgate as the eastern terminus, and that Metrolinx had significantly underestimated construction costs in 2016 and 2018. The report attacked both the current Conservative government and the previous Liberal government for failing to share cost overrun information with the city.

On February 5, 2021 it was announced that LIUNA was in discussion with the province to build a two-phase LRT, with the McMaster-Downtown portion (and maintenance facility) built first, funded by the Province, the Federal government, and LIUNA's pension arm.

On February 9 the province announced that it was willing to build a 9 kilometre LRT line from McMaster to Gage Avenue, but only if the federal government chipped in 3/5 of the $2.5 Billion estimated cost. Construction would begin in 2023. By comparison a BRT would cost $900 million, but the need to complete studies would delay construction start until 2025. Discussions between the two levels of government and LIUNA would continue for weeks, although without city involvement.

On March 26, the province announced that if built, it was going to allow the LRT to be constructed using 'priority project' regulations allowing the line to be built faster. Hamilton councillors were wary of the announcement, saying that the sparse information that had been passed on to them made them unsure of the need or advisability.

LRT 2.0

On May 13, 2021 the province and federal government offered a combined $3.4 Billion deal to build the entire 14 kilometre 11 station LRT as previously planned and cancelled. But the federal half of the funds were only for an LRT in a take it or leave it offer. The one big unanswered question in this offer was the operating costs that Hamilton was going to have to pay. It was at a meeting on June 2 where it was revealed that Hamilton would be on the hook for $20 Million in annual costs. However, this would be offset by fare revenue and not having to run as many buses. Metrolinx also said that they were willing to talk about having the HSR run the line. Any construction cost overruns would be paid by the province. The project would be split into stages to allow for a sooner start to construction in early 2022, but might also extend the building period.

On June 16, council voted 9-6 to allow city staff to negotiate a draft memorandum of understanding with Metrolinx to restart the LRT project and to outline the city's responsibilities for maintenance and operating costs. City staffers estimated that based on the removal of 29 buses from operating in the downtown core thanks to the LRT, and a ridership growth of 8%,the city would face a net increase in costs of $6.4 million. This decrease in bus service was opposed by some transit advocates, who called for the buses to be reallocated elsewhere in the city to boost service.

On September 8, council voted to approve the MOU by an 11-3 vote. Immediately the city set out to re-establish the LRT office, while Metrolinx began the expropriation of the 30 remaining buildings it needed, with demolitions scheduled for later in the fall. Utilities relocations would begin in Spring 2022, with LRT work scheduled to begin in the fall

To be continued...

Sources

Hamilton Spectator

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"No more sitting in traffic congestion?" April 11, 2008, pg A6
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Brown, Dana. "City pressing forward on light rail transit" July 28, 2008, pg A3
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MacIntyre, Nicole. "McMaster, city to consult students and faculty over LRT station" September 3, 2009, pg A3
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MacLeod, Meredith "Answers to LRT questions long way off" January 21, 2010, pg A4
Reilly, Emma "Metrolinx ruling won’t mention money" January 30, 2010, pg A6
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Reilly, Emma. "McGuinty: Pan Ams no free pass for LRT" February 5, 2010, pg A1
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Brown, Dana "What’s riding on city transit options?" February 17, 2010, pg A4
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MacLeod, Meredith. "Has LRT gone off the rails?" July 16, 2011, pg A1, A6, A7
Reilly, Emma. "Metrolinx: LRT and GO can co-exist" July 20, 2011, pg A1, A4
Reilly, Emma. "City seems a little touch and GO on light rail transit" July 22, 2011, pg A3
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MacLeod, Meredith. "Chances of LRT line one in a million?" September 2, 2011, pg A3
MacLeod, Meredith. "City's rapid transit director hops train to Niagara" September 9, 2011, pg A3
Reilly, Emma. "McGuinty is keen to get GOing on all-day service" September 10, 2011, pg A12
MacLeod, Meredith. "The B-Line: riding the rails to renewal" September 22, 2011, pg A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Council demanding answers on LRT" September 29, 2011, pg A3
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MacLeod, Meredith. "LRT on track, but plans need funds: report" October 13, 2011, pg A1, A7
Van Dongen, Matthew. "City funds studies while waiting for LRT money train" October 14, 2011, pg A3
Reilly, Emma. "City staff are asked to draw up LRT corridor plans" April 18, 2012, pg A3
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Dreschel, Andrew. "What the 'L' is going on with the LRT file?" February 16, 2013, pg A1, A6
Marr, Lisa Grace. "The Big Move: Many ideas, few solutions" February 19, 2013, pg A3
Reilly, Emma. "City banking on province for full LRT funding" February 26, 2013, pg A1, A4
Dreschel, Andrew. "Metrolinx says funding counts" March 4, 2013, pg A1, A15
Dreschel, Andrew. "City doesn't have to help pay LRT capital cost" March 8, 2013, pg A1, A17
Dreschel, Andrew. "Murray backtracks on LRT comments" March 13, 2013, pg A17
"How we'll pay for the big move" April 2, 2013, pg A1, A8
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Reilly, Emma & Walters, Joan. "Mayor mangles premier's transit message" April 18, 2013, pg A1, A6
Reilly, Emma. "Council says it's all or nothing on LRT funding" May 2, 2013, pg A3
Dreschel, Andrew. "Who's next? Russ Powers bails on LRT funding as unease grows" May 13, 2013, pg A1, A9
Reilly, Emma. "Council's LRT enthusiasm hitting the brakes" June 15, 2013, pg A10
Dreschel, Andrew. "Too much for taxpayers? LRT support dwindles" February 19, 2014, pg A1, A17
MacLeod, Meredith. "LRT likely to be 'really big' election issue" April 12, 2014, pg A12
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Support for LRT teetering" May 8, 2014, pg A1, A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "City should stick with $811m LRT plan, Horvath says" May 9, 2014, pg A1
Dreschel, Andrew. "Hudak won't fund LRT or BRT" May 21, 2014, pg A15
Dreschel, Andrew. "Vital LRT talks set for July 25, city says" July 12, 2014, pg A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Minister holds back, keeps LRT in limbo" July 26, 2014, pg A3
Dreschel, Andrew. "Clark tries to make LRT a wedge issue" September 4, 2014, pg A1, A8
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Will light rail transit debate railroad your vote?" September 27, 2014, pg A1, A8
Dreschel, Andrew. "Election results no victory for LRT" November 17, 2014, pg A11
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Eisenberger says city has full support from province" January 27, 2015, pg A1, A4
Dreschel, Andrew. "Wynne avoids saying LRT, but mayor is unsure why" January 27, 2015, pg A1, A4
Dreschel, Andrew. "Hey Kathleen...what about that LRT question?" January 28, 2015, pg A5
Dreschel, Andrew. "Billion-dollar transit bid blindsides mayor" February 13, 2015, pg A1, A15
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Will bus battle kill Hamilton's LRT dream?" March 6, 2015, pg A1, A10
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Council asks province for bus cash-and LRT funds" March 7, 2015, pg A1, A12
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Citizen rapid transit panel moves ahead" March 31, 2015, pg A1, A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Rapid transit cash coming, but for buses or rail?" April 24, 2015, pg A1, A14
Dreschel, Andrew. "Liberals have lots of excuses to delay LRT" April 27, 2015, pg A1, A19
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Province set to unveil an LRT game-changer" May 14, 2015, pg A1, A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Hamilton LRT is a GO" May 27, 2015, pg A1, A11
Dreschel, Andrew. "Lower city will never be the same" May 27, 2015, pg A1, A8
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Councillors climb aboard LRT funding bandwagon" May 28, 2015, pg A1, A4
Dreschel, Andrew. "City gets to work on next LRT steps, details expected in August report" June 8, 2015, pg A1, A8
Kenny, Amy. "LRT will be a short walk (and a long decade) away" June 15, 2015, pg A1, A7
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT: Now the difficult task of building it begins" July 31, 2015, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Will Hamilton's LRT extend to the waterfront?" August 6, 2015, pg A1, A8
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT planning on 'aggressive' timeline" August 11, 2015, pg A1, A6
Hayes, Molly. "LRT display offers street-level view of city's future" September 14, 2015, pg A9
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Argument for two-way traffic on main downtown streets may be revived" September 14, 2015, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Keeping public in the loop with LRT is critical, city councillors say" September 14, 2015, pg A3
Ammerata, Carla. "LRV Display" October 20, 2015, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Moratorium on development approved along LRT route" October 29, 2015, pg A3
Moro, Teviah. "LRT bridge preferred for Main-King jog: councillor" December 22, 2015, pg A5
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT gets on track at GO Station" January 7, 2016, pg A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Metrolinx to have final say on Hamilton LRT" January 20, 2016, pg A1, A5
Dreschel, Andrew. "'Transit first' LRT option on table" March 21, 2016, pg A1, A15
Dreschel, Andrew. "Coming to terms with LRT's traffic impacts" March 28, 2016, pg A11
Dreschel, Andrew. "LRT design plans ready for release to public" April 22, 2016, pg A1, A13
Van Dongen, Matthew. "City Motor Hotel on track to become LRT hub" April 22, 2016, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Much-anticipated LRT plans ready for public viewing" April 27, 2016, pg A1, A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT will impact hundreds of properties" May 3, 2016, pg A1, A6
Dreschel, Andrew. "LRT still fueling tensions" May 4, 2016, pg A1, A15
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Merulla floats motion to gauge LRT support" May 5, 2016, pg A6
Dreschel, Andrew. "LRT backers want to lock in that $1 Billion" May 9, 2016, pg A1, A11
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Council sidesteps contentious LRT vote" May 12, 2016, pg A1, A5
Dreschel, Andrew. "Rolling the dice on Hamilton's future" May 13, 2016, pg A11
Dreschel, Andrew. "An LRT Referendum? Collins leads the fight" May 16, 2016, pg A11
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Council vote on LRT support gets delayed once again" May 17, 2016, pg A3
Dreschel, Andrew. "Mayor regrets challenging LRT opponents" May 18, 2016, pg A1, A11
Moro, Teviah. "Councillors continue to debate LRT's benefits" May 19, 2016, pg A1, A8
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Transit boss to leave as LRT debate grows" May 25, 2016, pg A1, A5
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT affirmation vote running off the rails" May 26, 2016, pg A1, A8
Dreschel, Andrew. "Moves afoot to stiffen LRT support" May 30, 2016, pg A11
Dreschel, Andrew. "'Full steam ahead' for LRT plans" June 13, 2016, pg A1, A11
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Past mayors, chairs make public plea for Hamilton" June 22, 2016, pg A1, A4
Dreschel, Andrew. "MPs, MPPs help beat the drum for the city's LRT" June 22, 2016, pg A1, A13
Van Dongen, Matthew. "International Village LRT stop possible" July 21, 2016, pg A4
Fragomeni, Carmela. "LRT, King Street route reaffirmed" July 27, 2016, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "City council still seeks to make transit a BLAST" August 3, 2016, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT won't cause gridlock downtown, study suggests" August 4, 2016, pg A1, A5
Dreschel, Andrew. "Council LRT critics biding their time" August 17, 2016, pg A13
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Metrolinx to tap property owners if their land is needed for LRT" September 2, 2016, pg A1, A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT plans now call for underpass at CP Rail line" September 10, 2016, pg A1, A5
Noseworthy, Kelly. "LRT proposal gets mixed reviews from residents" September 12, 2016, pg A1, A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT bonus: Cash could pay for bridge work" September 13, 2016, pg A1, A5
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Landowners in the path of LRT mull out next move" September 14, 2016, pg A1, A5
Dreschel, Andrew. "Collins commits to motion for LRT referendum" September 28, 2016, pg A1, A15
Dreschel, Andrew. "Eisenberger takes on LRT critics" September 30, 2016, pg A1, A11
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT reversal needs two-thirds council support: legal opinion" October 1, 2016, pg A1, A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT cash not for other projects" October 1, 2016, pg A1, A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Council got legal opinion on LRT spat" October 13, 2016, pg A3
Dreschel, Andrew. "Legal expert blows holes in light rail referendum" October 14, 2016, pg A1, A13
Dreschel, Andrew. "Whitehead challenges LRT legal opinion" October 17, 2016, pg A1, A9
Dreschel, Andrew. "Collins says legal opinion derails his LRT fight" October 19, 2016, pg A1, A9
Van Dongen, Matthew. "$1 Billion in the balance" October 22, 2016, pg A1, A6
Dreschel, Andrew. "Exhausting LRT meeting long overdue" October 26, 2016, pg A1, A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT planners looking at Gage Park, parking" January 4, 2017, pg A3
Fragomeni, Carmela. "York, Main must be widened for LRT: Johnson" January 12, 2017, pg A1, A5
Dreschel, Andrew. "James North LRT spur line is out, express bus service in" January 13, 2017, pg A1, A9
Dreschel, Andrew. "LRT creates west end traffic concerns" January 16, 2017, pg A1, A4
Paddon, Natalie. "Gage stop a 'biggie' at east-end LRT session" January 17, 2017, pg A5
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Bay street LRT stop would cost extra $2.6 M, plus land grab, demolition costs" January 25, 2017, pg A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "News on changes to LRT plan 'imminent' with Metrolinx testing waters for bidder interest" January 31, 2017, pg A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Bus replaces LRT spur line" February 3, 2017, pg A1, A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Councillor calls the A-Line BRT plan 'a joke'" February 4, 2017, pg A1, A8
Dreschel, Andrew. "When LRT grandstanders meet showboaters" February 10, 2017, pg A1, A11
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Councillors nix request for Bay Street LRT stop" February 16, 2017, pg A3
Dreschel, Andrew. "Vote switch keeps Bay street LRT stop alive" February 24, 2017, pg A11
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT final design report going public pending vote" March 14, 2017, pg A1, A4
Wells, Jon "Drilling down into Hamilton's LRT debate" March 27, 2017, pg A1, A5
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Councillors delay crucial vote on light rail transit" March 29, 2017, pg A1, A4
Dreschel, Andrew. "LRT Vote delay makes sense: a few weeks won't derail history" March 30, 2017, pg A1, A13
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Can LRT spell tax relief?" April 17, 2017, pg A1, A7
Mahoney, Jeff. "LRT or bust - hundreds rally at city hall" April 17, 2017, pg A7
Paddon, Natalie. "Digging up development along the LRT line" April 18, 2017, pg A1, A5
Van Dongen, Matthew. "How will it move you?" April 19, 2017, pg A1, A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "13 hours and no decision" April 20, 2017, pg A1, A4
Dreschel, Andrew. "Delay means LRT is going off the rails" April 20, 2017, pg A1, A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Eastgate stop pitched to keep plan on track" April 21, 2017, pg A1, A6
Dreschel, Andrew. "Mayor: I'm doing everything I can" April 21, 2017, pg A1, A15
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Eastgate LRT extension could be pricey" April 22, 2017, pg A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Province open to discussing LRT extension" April 25, 2017, pg A1, A5
Dreschel, Andrew. "Whitehead: show me Eastgate money" April 26, 2017, pg A1, A13
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Council backs crucial LRT study in 10-5 vote" April 27, 2017, pg A1, A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT to Eastgate hinges on hunt for savings" April 28, 2017, pg A1, A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Horvath backs union push to operate LRT line" June 29, 2017, pg A3
Dreschel, Andrew. "Coun. Green pushes for new LRT deal for HSR" July 5, 2017, pg A1, A9
"LRT changes get Ballard's blessing" August 4, 2017, pg A4
Fragomeni, Carmela. "Councillors back union appeal for HSR to run LRT" August 10, 2017, pg A1, A4
Paddon, Natalie. "Wynne's door 'open' to possible HSR role in LRT" August 15, 2017, pg A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "City's request for HSR-run LRT in hands of province" August 19, 2017, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Will city miss bus on running LRT" November 3, 2017, pg A1, A5
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Reluctant province willing to let city run LRT" November 28, 2017, pg A1, A7
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Is slow-moving LRT project destined to become an election issue?" November 29, 2017, pg A1, A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Hamilton council drops request for HSR to operate LRT" December 19, 2017, pg A1, A2
Dreschel, Andrew. "City can spend LRT money on other projects, says Tory leader Ford" April 4, 2018, pg A1, A3
Dreschel, Andrew. "Ford 'ploy' has councillors re-thinking LRT support" April 6, 2018, pg A1, A13
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT bid comes with millions in affordable housing" April 14, 2018, pg A1, A13
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Metrolinx stops buying LRT land citing provincial spending freeze" August 30, 2018, pg A1, A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "They've made it a ghost town" October 12, 2018, pg A1, A5
Van Dongen, Matthew. "It's an LRT election (again)" October 12, 2018, pg A4
Dreschel, Andrew. "Whitehead endorses Vito Sgro for mayor" October 17, 2018, pg A13
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Will an LRT election derail development?" October 18, 2018, pg A1, A6
Dreschel, Andrew. "LRT war is still far from settled" October 23, 2018, pg A1, A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "The Eisenberger train rolls on" October 23, 2018, pg A1, A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "'He wants an LRT, he's going to get an LRT'" November 29, 2018, pg A4
Dreschel, Andrew. "Ford leaves mayor in limbo on LRT talk" January 25, 2019, pg A1, A9
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Will LRT exceed $1-Billion budget" January 30, 2019, pg A1, A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Tory MPP Skelly says city is responsible for extra costs is the LRT runs overbudget" January 31, 2019, pg A1, A5
Dreschel, Andrew. "Skelly's take on LRT 'opinion' not 'policy'" February 1, 2019, pg A1
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Feds could bail out LRT build, McKenna says" March 14, 2019, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT back on track: transportation minister" March 29, 2019, pg A1, A5
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT back on track: so what happens next?" April 3, 2019, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Major LRT work likely won't start until 2021" May 11, 2019, pg A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Councillors want answers about feared LRT budget overruns" May 16, 2019, pg A1, A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT work gets underway in east end" October 22, 2019, pg A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Ontario kills LRT, citing huge budget overruns" December 17, 2019, pg A1, A4
Paddon, Natalie. "Mulroney's planned news conference derailed by chaos" December 17, 2019, pg A1, A5
Dreschel, Andrew. "No tears from Skelly, Bratina over LRT's death" December 17, 2019, pg A1, A5
Dreschel, Andrew. "Mayor kept soaring LRT costs from council" December 18, 2019, pg A1, A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Show us the numbers behind cancelled LRT: critics" December 18, 2019, pg A1, A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT roller-coaster ride: What happens next" December 18, 2019, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Finding the hidden costs of a cancelled LRT project" December 19, 2019, pg A1, A8
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Mayor releases latest 'confidential' LRT cost estimates" December 19, 2019, pg A1, A8
Paddon, Natalie. "Doug Ford uninvited from LIUNA party" December 20, 2019, pg A1, A2
Campbell, Craig. "Mac's $8.9M bus terminal cancelled with LRT project" December 20, 2019, pg A3
Edwards, Drew. "Auditor general to look into cost estimates of cancelled LRT" December 21, 2019, pg A1, A2
Moro, Teviah. "Mayor and federal minister McKenna in talks over LRT after provincial cancellation" December 31, 2019, pg A1, A5
Moro, Teviah. "Province says task force to consider highways for Hamilton" January 2, 2020, pg A1, A5
Spurr, Ben & Van Dongen, Matthew. "Hamilton LRT bidders pulled back on participating months before cancellation, according to internal documents" January 7, 2020, pg A1, A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Transportation minister disinvited from local event over LRT" January 14, 2020, pg A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Are those LRT homes still habitable?" January 15, 2020, pg A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Die-hard LRT fans hopeful task force will stick with light rail" January 24, 2020, pg A1, A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Cancelling LRT also killed Longwood bridge rebuild" February 12, 2020, pg A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "What's up with the stories buried by the pandemic?" March 31, 2020, pg A1, A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT, rapid transit are back on the table" April 11, 2020, pg A1, A4
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Feds would look at funding for a resurrected LRT: McKenna" July 29, 2020, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Was it really a $5.5-Billion train?" August 7, 2020, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Horvath says reason for killing LRT 'made up'" August 8, 2020, pg A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LIUNA offers to partner in $3.5B LRT project" August 26, 2020, pg A1, A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Metrolinx to raze 21 buildings in LRT 'ghost town' September 12, 2020 pg A1, A2
Moro, Teviah. "Metrolinx set to demolish homes" October 23, 2020, pg A3
"Demolition begins for vacant LRT homes" December 4, 2020, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Ontario's auditor general says LRT was a $5.5-Billion project" December 8, 2020, pg A1, A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Martin's Bowling knocked down for cancelled LRT" January 19, 2021, pg A3
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Could Hamilton afford half an LRT?" February 6, 2021, pg A1, A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Province says shorter LRT a go-if feds chip in" February 10, 2021, pg A1, A6
Moro, Teviah. "Hamilton councillors want say on province's pitch for shorter LRT line" February 10, 2021, pg A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "The LRT roller-coaster ride: your questions answered" February 12, 2021, pg A1, A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LIUNA says LRT funding 'getting closer'" March 2, 2021, pg A1, A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Ontario pitches regulation to fast-track possible LRT" March 27, 2021, pg A10
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Councillors wary of new LRT law" April 9, 2021, pg A3
Radley, Scott. "How the LRT debate will finally come to an end" April 24, 2021, pg A4
Moro, Teviah & Van Dongen, Matthew. "Feds, province put up $3.4 billion for LRT" May 12, 2021, pg A1, A2
Moro, Teviah & Van Dongen, Matthew. "Province, feds offer $3.4 billion for LRT only" May 14, 2021, pg A1, A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Bratina opposes LRT, won't run again for Liberals" May 18, 2021, pg A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "What will it cost local taxpayers to run LRT" May 21, 2021, pg A1, A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Ontario wants city's LRT decision this summer" June 3, 2021, pg A1, A2
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Council votes to negotiate new LRT agreement" June 17, 2021, pg A1, A8, A10
Van Dongen, Matthew. "Hamilton LRT 2.0: What's next?" June 21, 2021, pg A1, A6
Van Dongen, Matthew. "LRT is moving ahead (again). What's next?" September 09, 2021, pg A1, A10, A11