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The Hamilton Spectator
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Tuesday February 16, 2010
Friday, Feb. 19, the Metrolinx board will hear a staff report evaluating various public transit options for Hamilton.

The report doesn't contain any surprises. It points out all three options, full light rail transit (LRT), bus rapid transit (BRT) and modified LRT -- a phased-in approach to full LRT -- offer significant net benefits to the city.

As expected, analysis shows BRT is most affordable at $220 million, but has less overall benefit. Full LRT is most expensive, at $830 million, but has the most benefit and is most efficient from a straight transit perspective, and modified LRT is more affordable at $600 million, with proportionately less overall benefit, but still more than the BRT option. Our reporting on this story contains more details, and the full report can be viewed at our website, thespec.com.

Although there will not be a recommendation coming from next Friday's meeting, it's an important milestone nonetheless as it signals beginning of the real heavy lifting in terms of lobbying to convince the provincial government that the best option for Hamilton is light rail transit, probably using the phased-in approach.

Improved bus transit, with express lanes and more service, is not an option we should settle for quietly. As we have argued repeatedly, LRT offers the added benefit of economic renewal, especially along the east-west downtown corridor. Many other jurisdictions in North America and Europe provide irrefutable evidence that LRT, when executed properly, is a catalyst for economic and urban transformation. It opens new doors around effective and creative land use. It addresses larger, more holistic concerns, about societal reliance on automobiles and environmental footprint. Strategic development of the LRT corridor creates a new destination or destinations to attract people. Source...

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