March 21, 2017 4:11 pm
Updated: March 21, 2017 6:27 pm

Proposed Montreal electric train project growing in size and cost

WATCH: The proposal to build a new light rail electric train network in Montreal is being modified. Promoters are adding additional trains, faster service and more green spaces, even while they’re still in the planning stages, but as Global's Tim Sargeant reports, that means costs are also going up.

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The ground-breaking for Montreal’s new electric train network hasn’t begun yet, but promises to make it bigger and better are continuing to grow.

That means costs are also going up.

READ MORE: Quebec pension fund president hopes to ‘revolutionize mass transit’ with electric train project

Michael Sabia, CEO and president of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, defended the project’s growing costs Tuesday.

The light rail train network is now expected to cost $6 billion, a 10 per cent increase since it was first announced last year.

Forty new train cars are supposed to be added to the line with trains running every two-and-a-half to 10 minutes during rush hour.

READ MORE: Concerned citizens denounce Montreal electric train project, support BAPE decision

“We are very, very comfortable with where this project is in terms of its state of advancement, but equally well its financial management,” said Sabia.

The automated trains are expected to almost double the capacity of the Deux-Montagnes AMT line alone.

The plan is to build 27 stations stretching from Deux-Montagnes to Brossard, in Montreal’s south shore, with tunnels and overpasses operating at high speeds by an electric grid.

READ MORE: Quebec environmental agency releases impact study on Montreal’s new electric train

“It’s not costs rising out of neglect or mismanagement, not at all,” said Sabia.

“Let me be crystal clear on this: at la Caisse, I can assure you, we know how to manage things and we manage them with rigor and discipline every hour, every day because that is what we do and who we are.”

Some critics wonder if Sabia’s project is too ambitious.

“It would be wonderful if this new system works as well as it is touted to work,” said commuter Sandy Weigens.

“I will believe it when I see it.”

Weigens argued it may be faster and less expensive to add more trains to existing lines, rather than rebuild the entire infrastructure.

 

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