August 22, 2014 9:06 pm

Borough mayors push for light rail trains on new Champlain bridge

MONTREAL — There has been talk of putting light rail trains into place on the new Champlain bridge since its unveilment earlier this summer.

“There were buses but there could be trains over there,” said Federal Transportation Minister Denis Lebel in June. “That’s a provincial decision.”

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While the provincial government is leaning towards the use of express buses on the Champlain bridge, Montreal city councillors recently voted unanimously to recommend the use of light rail, and now two borough mayors are taking things one step further.

The mayors of Verdun and the Southwest borough are launching a petition for Montrealers to convince the government that a light rail train (LRT) is the way to go.

“The petition is to send a clear message to the government of Quebec so they understand the population,” said Jean-Francois Parentau, mayor of Verdun. “It’s important for Montreal and all of Quebec. We don’t need another study to determine if it is a good solution or not.”

Still, the government is determined to conduct further studies. In a statement, the Minister of Transport says it welcomes the population’s input, but the file it submits must include “a comparative study of possible transit modes together with funding and delivery mode analysis.”

The two mayors say they’ve already consulted some of their citizens. Many are tired of having so many buses from the Champlain go through their neighbourhoods.

“Each week I have emails or letters that ask me what we can do to stop those buses,” said Benoit Dorais, mayor of the Southwest borough. “The solution is an LRT.”

They also argue that having a light rail would be cheaper in the long run.

“It is more expensive with an LRT for the implementation,” said Parenteau, “but after that the operation cost is less than bus. We need to have vision for future.”

The province says it will submit its dossier by the end of next summer, and that it will have a decision made by the end of 2015.

The petition is online at the National Assembly’s website for the next three months.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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