Premier Kathleen Wynne held a regularly scheduled media presser Monday afternoon, after here meeting with Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger.
Full video of the presser is available on the Premier’s Livestream.com page. (Hamilton questions and answers start at 9:52)
I’ve transcribed, to the best of my ability, the answers of Premier Wynne.
A reporter asks the Premier if the statements by Mayor Fred Eisenberger that she committed to 100% LRT funding are true.
Wynne: We have said all along that we were committed to building the rapid transit in Hamilton. That’s a commitment we’ve had in place for a number of years.
You will know there’s been a back and forth in Hamilton about exactly what that would look like, what the rapid transit would be.
The other conversation I had with the Mayor of Hamilton was about that discussion of the rapid transit in the context of the connectivity of Hamilton and by that I mean, the regional express rail, the full day two-way GO service that we know is necessary.
All of that is part of the discussion, we’ve committed 29-billion dollars, 15-billion dollars for the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area, Hamilton is part of that discussion and that has been our committment all along.
Follow up question asking how much money is earmarked for Hamilton.
Wynne: See this is just another way of you coming at what’s the specific number.
I can’t give you a specific number, because we haven’t landed on that. We’re still working with Hamilton and the Mayor and I discussed that this morning.
You know, the work has not been done. We haven’t had the discussion around the regional express rail and the Hamilton rapid transit.
That discussion has to happen now because there are people in Hamilton who are eagerly awaiting that as a priority – the regional express rail.
There are people in Hamilton who are awaiting the rapid transit with Hamilton as a priority.
That discussion has to happen now between our officials and the Hamilton officials.
Reporter asks whatever Hamilton comes back with, is the province committed to funding 100% whatever the cost
Wynne: Nothing has changed. We’ve been committed to working with Hamilton from the beginning.
I’ve been saying this since I was Minister of Transportation, which was in 2010 I was made the Minister of Transportation – we’ve had this conversation.
We’re committed to building rapid transit with Hamilton, but it will be in partnership with Hamilton.
You know, we can’t, I can’t tell you the number Hamilton comes forward with is the number we will go with.
Obviously, that has to be worked out officials to officials.
Donna Skelly, CHCH, asks what does 100% mean?
Wynne: We’ve committed to the capital costs for Hamilton, absolutely. But, I’m not going to put a number on that because we don’t know what the number will be.
Skelly says something that is inaudible.
Wynne: Well, that may be, that may be, that may be.
But the Mayor, well I would be very surprised if that’s what the Mayor said in terms of a number because we have a explicit conversation about that we can’t land on a number because the work hasn’t been done and this whole conversation has to take place in the context of the work we’re doing on a regional express rail.
Because that’s part of what Hamilton needs, Hamilton doesn’t just need the rapid transit within the City boundaries.
Hamilton residents also need that connectivity with the Greater Toronto Area.”
CHCH’s Donna Skelly follows up with a question on Rapid Ready funding, asking ‘will you commit to $200-million in first round of funding to increase HSR’
Wynne: The Mayor and I did not have a discussion about that part of their plan, we did not talk about that part of the plan.
We did not have a conversation about that part of their plan, the municipality will be working on that part and they’ll work with the province and I’m not going to commit to that at this point.”
Donna Skelly follow ups about first round of funding plan, it is mostly in inaudible.
Wynne: All of that is going to be discussed as part of the commitment for transit in the Greater Toronto – Hamilton Area