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Organizations call Quebec government’s public transit record ‘atrocious’

Click to play video: 'Quebec groups sound alarm over CAQ’s public transit failures'
Quebec groups sound alarm over CAQ’s public transit failures
WATCH: A group of prominent organizations is calling the Legault government's record on public transit, catastrophic. The harsh criticism comes from transit advocacy groups and environmentalists. They are accusing Quebec of dragging its feet on key dossiers. Global’s Dan Spector reports. – Feb 12, 2024

Prominent public transit advocates are heavily criticizing the Quebec government’s record on public transit development.

“We’re disappointed and frustrated,” said Equiterre government relations director Marc-André Viau.

His organization was one of seven respected advocacy groups calling out the CAQ.

Équiterre, la Fondation David Suzuki, le Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal, Piétons Québec, Vélo Québec and Vivre en Ville gathered on Monday to say after six years in power, the government’s record on developing new public transit is nearly non existent. They went on the offensive on the sidelines of Trajectoire Quebec’s annual benefit breakfast.

“The government’s track record in terms of public transit is atrocious,” said Viau.

The advocates say the Legault government was more than happy to take part in ribbon cutting ceremonies for things like the REM, but remind that the project was actually announced by the Liberal Couillard government.

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They’ve been cutting ribbons for projects that the preceding governments started, but they’ve not put forth the leadership and ambition that we need in public transit,” said Angèle Pineau-Lemieux, spokesperson for Quebec City-based Accès transports viables.

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The groups say the current government’s mandate has been littered with broken promises. Pledges to bolster the REM to the east, north and south, plans to build a tramway in Quebec City are among grand ideas either abandoned or stuck in limbo.

“In 2018, they had six major structuring public transit project on the table that they were promising. Today, none of them are being realized.”

The transit advocates accuse Quebec of providing billions to the Northvolt electric car battery factory, while lacking the ambition to add transit options.

“Why one and not the other? It’s mesmerizing,” said Viau.

Environmentalists say if significant progress is not made soon, the government will have a very hard time meeting 2030 environmental goals.

“Quebecers deserve good public services. We pay enough taxes to have these services. The government should act accordingly,” said Viau.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault pushed back.

“No government has ever invested so much in public transit,” said Maxime Roy, Guilbault’s director of communications. “We are working to develop the network in an orderly, thoughtful and responsible way.”

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The advocates are anxiously awaiting the next provincial budget this spring so they can see in black and white just how serious the government is.

 

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