Borough mayors launch petition for light rail on Champlain II
Published Friday, August 22, 2014 12:29PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 23, 2014 12:02PM EDT
Two Montreal borough mayors will present a petition to the National Assembly win more public support for installing a train on the replacement for the Champlain Bridge.
The federal government has agreed to create a dedicated public transit section, with the possibility of creating a bus lane that will eventually be converted to light rail.
Ever since Champlain II was announced the city of Montreal has preferred a rail option, while the provincial government said it will only make a decision next summer.
But Jean-Francois Parenteau and Benoit Dorais said waiting for the results of yet another study is a waste of time.
"You know we have 1,200 buses a day on our bridges. we don't need any more," said Parenteau, the mayor of Verdun.
Four hundred buses cross the Champlain Bridge from the South Shore to Montreal every morning, making the return trip in the evening.
That number is expected to rise to 900 per day with the new bridge.
Dorais and Parenteau said instead of investing in buses, and then converting to light rail at some date in the future, the bridge should be built with light rail in the first place.
To that end they're asking citizens to sign a petition calling for light rail.
"It's important to send a message to everybody to sign the petition to be sure the government understands," said Parenteau.
"It's important for the economic development of Montreal, it's important for the environment."
The mayors would like to see the train stop once somewhere in Point St. Charles and another time in Griffintown, which both believe would help with local economic development.
And while neither could put a price tag on the extra costs that the rail line would entail, they both argued that it could be somewhat offset by the decreased cost of buses, which require more drivers than trains.
The petition is available on the National Assembly website
The design for the proposed new Champlain Bridge is shown in an artist's rendering, released on Saturday May 31, 2014 in Montreal. (HO, Infrastructures Canada-Alexis Fortin Robitaille/THE CANADIAN PRESS)