Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday the federal government will contribute $1.3 billion towards the extension of the Montreal Metro’s Blue line.
“I’ve represented this riding in Ottawa for 10 years, and in 10 years I’ve talked to residents about a huge number of things.… One thing that always comes up is public transit,” Trudeau said.
“And it makes sense. The east end of Montreal has completely transformed in recent years.”
The announcement puts a firm dollar figure on a commitment Trudeau made in April 2018, alongside then-premier Philippe Couillard. At the time, Trudeau said the major investment would come later, through the government’s infrastructure plan.
Quebec’s junior transport minister, Chantal Rouleau, who is also the minister responsible for Montreal, did not announce the province’s investment nor the total cost of the project, saying it is still in the planning stage.
“We don’t have the final amounts. We won’t have them until after we put out the calls for tender,” she said. “But some work is starting already — we will begin seeing the seeds of the project on the ground.”
Estimates have put the project cost at nearly $4.5 billion.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and an assortment of federal, provincial and municipal officials were also at the announcement.
Plante, who made a deal with the Quebec government last week to build the western portion of her proposed Pink line, said she “rejoiced” at the federal funding announcement and can’t wait to watch neighbourhoods in Montreal’s east end thrive.
“Some people will say this is very expensive,” Plante said. “But we need to stop looking at public transport as an expense. It’s an investment — an economic investment during and after construction, but also an incredible tool for social development and development of the region.”
The Blue line extension will include five new stops in the city’s east end, ending in Anjou. It is set to be finished by 2026.
Montreal’s regional transportation authority estimates that an additional 25,600 passengers will take the Metro during morning rush hour once the extension is up and running.
The extension has been discussed in various forms since 1979.
Travel back to the 1980s with this look at the history of Blue line announcements.