Eastern REM | Valérie Plante for the CCMM: “We saved the project”

By taking the reins of the REM de l’Est with the Quebec government, the city of Montreal has “saved the project,” said Montreal mayor Valérie Plante. The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) for its part indicates that it is in the process of “sprinting” to get results quickly.

Updated yesterday at 10:03 PM.

Isabelle Ducas

Isabelle Ducas
The press

Henri Ouellette-Vezina

Henri Ouellette-Vezina
The press

“We didn’t give up on the project, we saved the project. Because the project ran into a wall in its original form,” the mayor launched before the Metropolitan Montreal Board of Trade (CCMM) on Thursday.

mme Plante was interviewed by Michel Leblanc, chairman and CEO of the CCMM, who was skeptical and questioned whether the project would really see the light of day, or whether we had simply “thrown the baby out with the bathwater”.

“The REM as it was proposed didn’t work. We gave it to a new group and asked them to make a new proposal. When I do an investigation, no one believes it will happen soon,” said Mr. Leblanc, recalling the saga of the Pie-IX Bus Rapid Service (SRB), which after many years of operation is still not in operation is. delay.

The mayor acknowledged to Mr Leblanc that there is strong pressure to move the project forward.

I’m sure this project will get there. It’s been modified, transformed, but you’re right when you say we have to deliver.

The Mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante

Now that CDPQ Infra has withdrawn from the project, the Eastern REM is controlled by the Quebec Ministry of Transport (MTQ), the STM, the Montreal Regional Transport Authority (ARTM) and the City of Montreal.

The mayor recalled that this quartet had managed to secure the necessary funding for the extension of the Blue Line: the budget of 6 billion for this project was confirmed in March.

“Sprint” on the STM

At the STM, we say we are “in a sprint” to quickly present a project acceptable to the population.

“We are in a sprint. The pace is really high. There is a strong mobilization. Everyone wants to work quickly and efficiently because we feel there is momentum for the east side of Montreal,” explains to. The press the chairman of the board of directors of STM, Éric Alan Caldwell, in an interview.


PHOTOGRAPH PHILIPPE BOIVIN, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

The Assomption metro station, on the green line, will be the new departure point for the REM de l’Est.

The commission set up last Monday by Quebec and Montreal following the exclusion of CDPQ Infra has already held its first meeting.

According to Mr Caldwell, this new committee is “well aware of the importance of the Green Line, which is already a very good service for the city centre”. “Ultimately, what we want is a more efficient Green Line 2.0, which enables the feeder in deprived neighborhoods,” he slips.

However, Mr Caldwell says he “understands” the Caisse de dépôt’s decision to pull out of the process – the project’s profitability is no longer guaranteed without the city center – but is pleased with the direction REM is taking. “We had to shuffle the cards,” he continues, adding that the decision was “necessary to keep the two services in the northeast and the tip of the island.”

Economic development

For the economic development of the eastern side of the city, it is imperative that this transport project sees the light of day, emphasizes Michel Leblanc.

“The city and government of Quebec want to develop the East, but the business community will not invest in this sector if they are not told how the workers will get there,” he stresses.

For companies, efficient public transport is a central element when choosing a business location, he adds.

A new, more “agile” model

In recent days, experts have recalled that the departure of CDPQ Infra also marks the return to a more “traditional” model for carrying out public transport projects, as it was before 2015. For Éric Alan Caldwell, the two models have historically “well served “Quebec. “The more classic schedule gave us the Montreal subway. And the REM de l’Ouest, given to us by the Caisse, will, I think, also be a success in its integration context. That’s where it will be now to define the most agile way of working,” he says on the subject.

“We have been sentenced to cooperate in public transport,” Mr Caldwell illustrates.

Our metro is at the end of a 50-year life cycle. You have to give it another cycle. And with the technological advancements that we have today, we can make it much more efficient.

Eric Alan Caldwell, Chairman of the Board of Directors of STM

According to our information, the connection to the Green Line will be at Assomption station, from which the Eastern and Northern branches would depart. We plan to proceed in two phases: the first to construct the sections towards Pointe-aux-Trembles and the Marie-Victorin CEGEP, and the second, depending on the results of future studies, to extend the REM extending to Laval and Lanaudière.

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