Hamilton's Light Rail Transit project isn't in the provincial budget, but for some reason, provincial Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca is on a public relations offensive building expectations of a big announcement in a few weeks time.
Del Luca even had his Press Secretary email all of Hamilton's online media the following statement (bold text as sent by Minister's staff) on Thursday at 6:32pm:
Just wanted to make that you saw Minister Del Duca’s tweet this afternoon:
#HamOnt, I look forward to visiting in the coming weeks with more details about what our $31.5B Moving Ontario Forward plan means for you.
5:47 PM - 23 Apr 2015 (https://twitter.com/StevenDelDuca/status/591342673761542144)
Here’s a comment from the Minister from earlier this week before the budget, and today’s budget reaffirms what he says below:
Ontario’s commitment to full capital funding for rapid transit in Hamilton is steadfast and unwavering, and in the coming weeks, I look forward to being in a position to share more details about how our plan will help build up all of Ontario – including Hamilton.
Office of the Minister of Transportation
77 Wellesley Street West
3rd Floor, Ferguson Block
While Kitchener/Waterloo, Mississauga/Brampton, and Toronto are getting significant light rail transit investments and are included in the budget, Hamilton's getting a promise of "Rapid Transit" starting in the 2018-2019 budget year.
There are no straight answers in the budget, and plenty of changing signals from City Council to the province, and the province to the City.
Ryan McGreal's take "Mississauga-Brampton LRT Surges Past Hamilton to Funding Approval" is the definitive take on the developments of the past two weeks.
What does it all mean?
I'd love to write a prediction, but the LRT file is so confused and convoluted, I have no idea what to predict.
My expectations are rising with the unusual outreach from Minister Del Duca's office, but I can't get past the fact that in the budget Hamilton's not "Light Rail Transit" and the budget commitment is years down the road and that means its subject to change.
Of course, I'll broadcast live whenever the Minister visits Hamilton to make his promised annnouncement.