February 8, 2018 11:54 am
Updated: February 8, 2018 6:39 pm

Montreal’s $6.3 billion light rail network finalized, expected to open in 2021

WATCH: Montreal’s new light rail project connecting the city to its suburbs and Trudeau airport is officially a go. Global's Dan Spector reports.

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Montreal’s new light-rail project connecting the city to its suburbs and its international airport got the green light Thursday, with the line expected to open by 2021.

READ MORE: Opposition wants guaranteed Montreal light-rail jobs in Quebec

SNC-Lavalin emerged as the big winner and is part of the two consortiums that will both build the infrastructure and furnish the trains.

READ MORE: Montreal’s $6-billion light rail transit project has Kirkland property owners on edge

“We have been very conscious of the importance of creating a process that had great integrity from beginning to end,” Michael Sabia, head of the province’s public pension fund manager, told a Montreal news conference.

“Through that process, we’ve achieved the result that we wanted to achieve which is the best quality project at the best possible price.”

Architectural renderings of different stations and engineering works of Montreal’s Réseau express métropolitain (REM).

CNW Group/CDPQ Infra Inc.

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The light-rail project will now cost $6.3 billion — $300 million more than the original price tag — and is expected to be ready by the summer of 2021, instead of 2020.

READ MORE: New bill would prevent Montreal property owners from contesting expropriation for light rail

The Caisse de dépôt pension fund, through subsidiary CPDQ Infra, will provide $2.95 billion in financing for the project and will assume the extra costs.

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The Quebec and federal governments will chip in $1.28 billion each, while Hydro-Quebec will add $295 million and the regional transit agency an additional $512 million.

Premier Philippe Couillard struck a reassuring tone for Bombardier Transport, based in La Pocatiere, Que., which lost out on the contract.

There will be other contracts in the future, Couillard assured, noting that Montreal’s subway system is continuing to expand.

The plan has been slightly changed and it will now include 26 stations, one less than originally planned, along a 67-kilometre automated light rail network.

READ MORE: New bill would prevent Montreal property owners from contesting expropriation for light rail

The construction of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) will begin in April.

The plan for the light-rail system was first announced in January 2015.

Architectural renderings of different stations and engineering works of Montreal’s Réseau express métropolitain (REM).

CNW Group/CDPQ Infra Inc.

Sabia announced that a consortium of SNC-Lavalin, Dragados, Aecon, Pomerleau and EBC will be responsible for engineering, procurement and construction, while Alstom and SNC-Lavalin will provide the cars.

READ MORE: Proposed Montreal electric train project growing in size and cost

Couillard, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau were on hand for the announcement.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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