Prime Minister Trudeau announces support for Montréal’s light rail network
Hello, everyone. I would first like to thank Premier Couillard, Mayor Coderre, and the CEO of Caisse de dépôt, Michael Sabia, for being here today. It is a pleasure to be with you this morning for this significant announcement, and thank you all for being here with us today.
As you know, Montrealers who move to Ottawa tend to go back and forth regularly. Ottawa is only a few hours away, and weekends in Montreal are tough to resist, especially in the summer. When you come back to Montreal, you’re met with a view of downtown, whether you travel by car on the Ville‑Marie expressway or by train to the central station, I am always happy to see the outline of Montreal in the distance because, for me, it feels like coming home.
Every time I remark on how much the landscape has changed in recent years. Previously industrial neighbourhoods that have become residential, new skyscrapers and cranes on the horizon, all indicate that Montreal is growing and thriving. More and more families are settling here, whether on the island or in the suburbs. Many businesses continue to do business in Montreal, and young people from four corners of the world come to study at our universities and training centres.
One of the consequences of the growth of cities is higher demand for public transit. Whether it’s to get to work on time or get home in time for supper, people who live in the Greater Montreal Area need reliable and efficient services.
That’s why our government announced unprecedented investments in public transit across the country, investments that will improve the quality of life in our cities, strengthen our communities, and make a real difference in the lives of Canadians.
It was one of our first priorities as a government. For nearly 10 years the municipalities and provinces did not have the federal support they needed to ensure that public transit kept up with growing demand. Last year we announced that the government would invest more than $770 million over three years in public transit in the Montreal area to improve and repair the existing systems. That major investment was part of the first phase of our ambitious infrastructure plan.
Today, we are taking the next step in transforming the way Canadians travel and live. I am proud to announce that the Government of Canada will partner with the Government of Quebec and the Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec in the Montreal electric network (REM) project. As part of our long-term infrastructure plan, and subject to due diligence, we are committing to investing $1.28 billion to make the project a reality.
Today’s announcement will help our partners finalize the project’s financial arrangements and comply with the Caisse’s construction timeline.
I’m proud to announce that the Government of Canada will partner with the Government of Quebec and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec in the Montreal electric network (REM) project. As part of our long-term infrastructure plan we are committed to invest $1.28 billion to complete the project, subject to due diligence.
Initially, this money will be disbursed as part of a grant reserved for Quebec, for the purposes of public transit and green infrastructure. Once the proposed Canada Infrastructure Bank has been established, the Government of Quebec can submit this project proposal for analysis. If the Bank should decide independently to finance this project, the amount announced today would be returned to the appropriation earmarked for Quebec.
REM is one of the most ambitious public transit projects in our history. Once completed, it will be the fourth largest automated transit system in the world, with 27 stations spread over 67 kilometres. And most of all, REM will improve the lives of millions of Quebecers by guaranteeing reliable and efficient service 20 hours a day, seven days a week.
Let me give you an example. Right now parents who live in Brossard on the South Shore spend approximately 45 minutes in their car every morning to get to work downtown. As a parent, I know very well that this is time they would prefer to spend with their children before sending them off to school. With REM, they will be able to get to work in 16 minutes. In the same way, parents who live on the West Island, students on the North Shore, and travellers who arrive at the airport and want to get downtown will also benefit from much shorter travel times.
In addition to shortening commutes for millions of Quebecers, REM will reduce the number of cars on the road, which will decrease traffic and air pollution. In fact, the investments we are making across the country in public transit will help us stay the course in our fight against climate change and meet our Paris commitments.
We’re committed to improving the quality of life of Canadians and their families, creating good, well-paying jobs for the middle class and growing the economy. And with this historic investment, we’re taking a huge step in the right direction.
Once again, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Premier Couillard, for his leadership and partnership; to Minister Sohi, for his excellent work on this matter; and obviously to Mayor Denis Coderre, for his vision for the great city of Montreal.
I would also like to thank all our Quebec MPs who played a key role in making today’s announcement a reality. We are proud to be your partners in this ambitious project, which will transform the way millions of Quebecers travel and enjoy all that Montreal has to offer. Thank you very much, everyone.