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Québec solidaire calls for bill to start work on extension of Montreal metro’s blue line

People wear face masks as they commute by metro in Montreal, Sunday, August 2, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world.
People wear face masks as they commute by metro in Montreal, Sunday, August 2, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Québec solidaire (QS) is asking the Quebec government for a separate bill that would allow construction to extend the blue metro line in Montreal. This separate bill would speed up the expropriation procedure necessary to start the work.

Bill 61, tabled in the spring by the Legault government, aimed to speed up 202 infrastructure projects in order to revive the economy. This included fast-tracking the construction of schools, roads and public transport networks like the blue line.

However, the Legault government has abandoned the bill with the intention of tabling a new version of it.

But for Québec solidaire, the extension of the blue line was “the biggest piece of Bill 61” and since it is “the only one that needs expropriation,” it must therefore be the subject of a separate bill.

READ MORE: Montreal’s Blue line extension gets $1.3B federal investment

“What we want is a separate bill that is amended very quickly,” said QS MNA Vincent Marissal. “On this, I think all the parties will agree because everyone says they want to put an end to this project.”

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“We have to get out of politicking because the problem with the blue line is not engineering, it’s not construction and it’s not because of needs. The problem is politics.”

He said Quebec MNAs “can adopt this in the first days of the new session next week, it is that simple.”

A similar request was made by Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante in late August.

“We need a special law to speed up the expropriation process and plan development around the stations as quickly as possible,” she wrote at the time.

“It is high time that the blue line project be carried out. The population of the east has been waiting for it since 1988. Following the failure of Bill 61, it is expected that there is one on the table for the start of the parliamentary term.”

The 5.8-km extension of the blue line would add five stations from Saint-Michel station to Anjou.

Click to play video 'Quebec’s Bill 61 sent back to the drawing board' Quebec’s Bill 61 sent back to the drawing board
Quebec’s Bill 61 sent back to the drawing board