It was scheduled to happen this spring, but bidders will now have until next year to make their offer on the LRT project. It wont be until later on in 2020 that a consortium is awarded the project by Metrolinx. Today’s update on the city’s light rail transit spurred concerns.
“What happens if Hamilton’s LRT project goes over budget ?”
Both Councillors Brad Clark and Terry Whitehead say the project could very well cost more than the billion dollars committed by the province. 151 million dollars has already been spent by Metrolinx on the LRT that includes 75 million dollars in property acquisition alone. The concern some Councillors had today is the cost of inflation on the project, considering the billion dollars was promised in 2014.
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. Either way, mayor Fred Eisenberger says the project can be scaled down if its over budget, or expanded if theres money left over.
Cost overrun has been a concern since the very beginning of LRT talks. The LRT’s first year of major construction was supposed to be next year but since a bidder wont be selected until later on in 2020 that has been pushed back. However the updated report says that building demolition will start this summer or fall to prepare for construction.