Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

A $13G SLR to replace the Eastern REM

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Eastern Montreal has been waiting for a structuring public transportation project for a long time. (Archive photo)

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The Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority (ARTM) is preparing to propose to the Quebec government a structuring public transport project three times cheaper than that recommended last summer to serve the East of Montreal.

Rather than a $36 billion underground network, as proposed in a report published in July, the ARTM would have managed, according to our sources, to reduce the bill to 13 billion with a light rail transport (LRT) system scenario. The route, however, is not yet known.

LRT involves the train traveling at ground level, generally on its own site – a system that differs from the tramway, which is usually located on the road network.

The proposal should appear in a report commissioned by the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, and which should be submitted to her soon, no later than the first week of February.

The document should also address other solutions to improve mobility in other corridors on the island of Montreal and in the suburbs.

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“It doesn’t matter what the mode is, if we want to have campuses, if we want to develop housing, if we want to have green spaces, we must have public transportation,” declared Ms. Plante on Friday .

Called to comment on this new development alongside an announcement, the mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, was ambivalent , Friday morning.

Reiterating that she had not yet read the report in question, Ms. Plante emphasized that the development of the eastern part of the metropolis depended on public transportation, regardless of the project selected, while insisting on the fact that it should be fast and efficient.

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She reacted thus to an article from La Presseindicating that the ARTM was preparing to recommend the establishment of a tramway in this part of the city.

The establishment of a structuring public transport network in eastern Montreal has been a recurring topic in the news for years, even decades.

CDPQ Infra, a subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, had imagined, in the wake of its Metropolitan Express Network project, an aerial route for the East, called “REM de l’Est”, which was withdrawn in spring 2022, due to lack of social acceptability.

An analysis report produced the following year by a working group led by the ARTM then proposed an underground project worth $36 billion, a bill far too steep for the tastes of Prime Minister Legault, who then declared that “it [didn’t] make sense.”

Geneviève Guilbault had therefore mandated the Authority to identify new avenues for solutions last September. According to our information, a progress report, which already mentioned the possibility of replacing the REM de l'Est with an SLR, was already submitted to his ministry last fall.

With information from Alexandre Duval

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