Caisse announces major public transit project to link most of Greater Montreal

WATCH ABOVE: The Caisse de Dépôt has announced its proposal an electric light rail transit project that will link most of Greater Montreal. As Global's Felicia Parrillo reports, the next step is to wait for funding from the provincial and federal governments.

MONTREAL – The Caisse de Dépôt has announced its proposal for a public transit project that will link most areas of Greater Montreal.

This includes: downtown Montreal, the South Shore (via the Champlain Bridge), the West Island (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue), the North Shore (Deux-Montagnes) and Trudeau airport in a unified, fully automated, 67-km light rail transit (LRT) system.

The proposal suggests building 24 stations, operating 20 hours a day, seven days a week.

Each station of the proposed Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) would be climate-controlled and equipped with elevators so everyone can access it.

Passengers would have Wi-Fi connectivity and access to live status updates.

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WATCH: The proposed REM system

The proposed route would go through the airport, Technoparc St-Laurent, Université de Montréal, the Peel Basin and the Wellington-Bridge area.

Heading west, the REM will follow Highway 40 to avoid having to share tracks with freight trains.

“It’s wonderful news, it gives the West Island and the Town of Baie d’Urfé access to 67 km of dedicated public transportation. It’s incredible,” said Maria Tutino, mayor of Baie d’Urfé.

READ MORE: Quebec premier’s comments ignite concern over Train de l’Ouest

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“We are proposing an innovative public transit solution that will improve the quality of life in Montreal and deliver important economic, social and environmental benefits,” said Michael Sabia, President and Chief Executive Officer of Quebec’s pension fund.

“It will improve the metropolitan region’s overall competitiveness. The new transit system will also deliver longterm, stable investment returns very well aligned with the needs of our depositors, the people of Quebec.”

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READ MORE: Train de l’Ouest slated to roll out by 2020

Sabia was joined by Mayor Denis Coderre to speak about the Caisse’s three-billion dollar commitment to finance the projects.

“I am truly impressed with the vision,” said Coderre.

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“We will all work together to make sure it is priority number one.”

A graphic of the proposed REM – map and stations, Friday, April 22, 2016.
A graphic of the proposed REM – map and stations, Friday, April 22, 2016. CNW Group/CDPQ Infra

The total cost is expected to be $5.5 billion.

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The decision to move forward with the construction of the major public transportation project is conditional upon the financial participation of both the federal and provincial governments.

READ MORE: Montreal’s new Champlain Bridge on schedule

The plan also includes five potential future stations envisioned for areas like McGill University and Université de Montréal.

WATCH: Improving transit in Montreal

There will be various consultations and public hearings.

Construction is expected to start in 2017 and take four years to complete.

The new network is expected to generate approximately 7,500 jobs annually during the construction phase, and more than 1,000 permanent jobs once in operation.

REM would be the third-largest automated transportation system in the world after Dubai (80 km) and Vancouver (68 km), and just ahead of Singapore (65 km).

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