Trudeau announces $1.3 billion in federal funding for Montreal metro extension

MONTREAL — The federal government is making a $1.3-billion investment to help make the long-awaited eastern extension of Montreal’s metro system a reality, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday.

The federal money would help finance the estimated $4.5-billion price tag for the project to extend the city’s blue line by five metro stops, from the St-Michel station towards the Anjou borough in the city’s east end.

Construction on the six-kilometre expansion is expected to begin in 2021 and be completed in 2026.

“There has been consistent under-investment in public transit in Montreal and indeed across the country over the past years,” Trudeau said. “That’s why we’re so pleased that we’re moving forward today on a $1.3 billion investment making the blue line extension a reality.”

Speaking in his home riding of Papineau, Trudeau addressed questions about skepticism that the project will arrive on time.

“We agree that building large projects like this always takes longer than what people like. I’d love to be having this announcement on extension line right now,” Trudeau said.

“We’re going to have to wait a few more years for that, but I don’t think Montrealers should have waited one more minute for this important announcement.”

The extension has been floated by previous governments over the years, but Trudeau said he’s confident it will now move forward and noted the changing demographics of eastern Montreal makes better public transit necessary in the area.

The extension is expected to provide metro access to more than 17,000 new users and includes money for two new bus terminals and park-and-ride lots in the area.

Ottawa usually finances roughly 40 per cent of the total cost of infrastructure projects across the country. Quebec’s junior transportation minister, Chantal Rouleau, said the provincial government is happy with the federal injection.

Rouleau, the minister responsible for Montreal, added the provincial government is still trying to get a handle on what the final cost of the project will be.

“We’re refining the costs and we want to make sure that Quebecers will get the most for their money,” Rouleau said.

It’s the latest major transit funding announcement in Quebec, which includes the federal money for the Reseau Express Metropolitain (REM) light-rail system and the new Samuel De Champlain Bridge, which opened on Monday without tolls — as promised by the Trudeau Liberals.

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