The province’s Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek along with MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook, Donna Skelly, arrived at Mayor Fred Eisenberger’s office at around 3:30. The meeting lasted just twenty minutes, but both the mayor and minister say it was enough to get the project back on track.
Three groups were shortlisted to bid on getting the project, they had been at a standstill since last April, at the request for proposals stage, when the Ford government put a freeze on land acquisition purchasing.
Last month, Hamilton’s Director of Economic Development said that some developers are slowing down plans along the route out of fear the project won’t happen. The mayor says today’s decision to lift the freeze will ease uncertainty. Metrolinx has already purchased more than 50% of the properties needed along the route to complete the LRT.
Over 100 million dollars has already been spent on the one-billion dollar project, but what has not been made clear is who is on the hook for costs if the project goes over budget. Not a very clear cut answer was given.
Last month, PC MPP Donna Skelly said Hamilton will be responsible for for any additional construction costs.
But a memorandum of agreement between the city and Metrolinx, dated march 8th 2016 states:
That Hamilton should not be responsible for any of the costs, even if it goes over budget.
According to the original timeline for the project, shovels were expected to be in the ground late this year. We asked the mayor if that was still the case, he says it’s looking like construction will have to begin next year, after the bid proposals get sorted out.