Pressure mounting on government to extend metro line to future REM station

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WATCH: Some 169 new housing units are set to be built in the St-Laurent borough but some local politicians have expressed concern, saying the project is missing easy access to public transit. As Global's Tim Sargeant explains, there are calls to merge the city's new high speed rail line with the existing metro line. – May 31, 2022

A new housing project is well underway in the Saint-Laurent borough to build 169 affordable units for low-income families.

The project is being built in the shadow of thousands of other private-housing units and the future Bois-Franc REM (Réseau express métropolitain) train station.

Montreal elected officials insist the booming housing starts in the area combined with plans to build a new elementary school are just some of the reasons why a future extension of the orange metro line from Côte-Vertu to the Bois-Franc REM station makes sense.

“It’s the biggest bang the government will get for the taxpayers’ buck to be able to make that connection for one kilometre,” Alan DeSousa, the Saint-Laurent borough mayor, told Global News.

A tunnel of almost one kilometre has already been dug from the Côte-Vertu metro station toward the Bois-Franc REM stop. Officials argue only one more kilometre is needed to convert this into a bimodal station.

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“What we need right now is that we connect the two systems, which is the REM and the orange line,” Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said.

The final decision sits with the Quebec government but so far no commitment has been made.

“We’re evaluating the best solution for the best project,” Claudi Loupret, a spokesperson from the transport minister’s office, wrote in an email to Global News.

Read more: REM station at Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport delayed

A bimodal station at Bois-Franc is in a location surrounded by new homes and an elementary school that is planned to be built. It will give a new public transit option to the Trudeau international airport, only a few kilometres away.

“It’s going to serve thousands and thousands of people around here,” Aref Salem, the Montreal Opposition leader told Global News.

Officials are hoping the government will commit to the extension by the time the entire REM network is up and running, scheduled for the end of 2024.

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