May 6, 2019 5:51 pm
Updated: May 6, 2019 6:18 pm

Expand REM to Laval, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Highway 25: Quebec government

WATCH: Montreal's proposed light rail project could get a lot bigger. The Province has requested more studies to determine the feasibility of extending the service in all directions. As Global's Tim Sargeant explains, at least one city councillor is proposing a direct link between the REM and the Via Rail station in Dorval, as well as other public transit systems.

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The Quebec government announced Monday that it wants Quebec’s pension fund manager, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, to explore the possibility of extending the light rail electric train network — the Réseau express metropolitain (REM) — to a much larger area.

The government wants the Caisse to consider expanding the network north to Laval, south as far as St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and east toward Highway 25.

“Now, we’re mobilizing our team, our experts,” Macky Tall, of the Caisse told Global News.

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READ MORE: REM officials lay out mitigation measures for commuters as construction ramps up

Saint-Laurent Borough Mayor Alan DeSousa also plans to submit a motion next week calling for the REM to extend its network in Dorval from the Trudeau Airport to the VIA Rail train station, with links to the exo Dorval commuter train station and the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) bus terminal.

A tunnel linking the airport to the VIA Rail station would stretch 700 metres and could vastly improve mass transit in the area, Desousa says.

“It would make logical sense to have an inter-modal access right there,” DeSousa told Global News.

WATCH: What the REM trains will look like

The federal government has commissioned an independent study to consider extending the REM in Dorval.

While the Caisse is on board with the study, it says it’s not endorsing the extension idea for now.

“It’s an interesting idea and we’re open to working and looking at it eventually, but again, we don’t set that priority,” Tall said.

READ MORE: Montreal commuters grapple with REM construction in downtown core

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said she would support the plan, depending on its affordability.

“If there is a possibility with the government of Quebec and government of Canada to find the financial resources, of course it would be a great idea,” Plante, said.

DeSousa will submit his motion at the next Montreal city council meeting on May 13.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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