Events continue to unfold in the Hamilton LRT saga, including the recent release of a report from 2019 by Turner and Townsend (T&T) that does not appear to confirm the cost numbers used by the Province in December to cancel the project.
On August 24, 2020, Transport Action Ontario again wrote the Auditor General of Ontario asking for a review of this file. We received word that an audit of the Hamilton LRT project, including the T&T report, will be tabled in December, 2020.
Our August 24 note can be viewed below:
As you may recall, Transport Action Ontario sent a letter to your office
December 31, 2019 outlining our concerns with the cancellation of the
Hamilton LRT project by the Province in mid-December. We subsequently
met with your staff on February 3, 2020 to discuss the concerns in more
Events have continued to unfold on this file.
We were heartened that, in March, a provincially-appointed task force
recommended that the $1B provincial commitment indeed be spent on
higher-order transit-either LRT or BRT. The Province still has not
responded to this recommendation.
On August 6, the Hamilton Spectator reported it had obtained, pursuant
to a Freedom of Information Act request, the secret report by Turner and
Townsend that was used by the Province as the basis for project
cancellation. Although heavily redacted, the summary is visible and does
not support the cost values claimed by the Province. Specifically, the
province had cited $5.5B in provincial and municipal costs, while Turner
and Townsend cite capital costs of $2.3B (including contingency and
escalation) and $1.3B operations, maintenance and lifecycle costs (30
years). The figures in the report are much lower than claimed by the
The Hamilton LRT is a vital project for that city. It is clear that
there is a serious problem with project cost estimating and with
government announcements. We urge your office to review this file,
request the source and corroboration of the $5.5B figure stated by the
Transport Minister, and make recommendations that will restore
transparency and good business judgement to this project.