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Accessibility advocates fear possible delay in adding more elevators in Montreal's Metro stations

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Disability advocates are warning that plans to make the Metro more accessible may be delayed or dropped altogether as they feel caught in the middle of a funding battle between Quebec and the STM.

For decades, Marie Turcotte has been working to make Montreal public transit fully accessible.

The best way to do that is via elevators.

She was part of the STM's announcement in 2017 that the entire underground would be accessible to all by 2038.

But as of today, not even half of Montreal's 68 Metro stations have elevators and now work on future ones may be stalled.

Turcotte says if the STM doesn't have enough funding to continue its plans services will start to disappear. And she's concerned this will set back plans to install more elevators.

The STM told CTV News that it still needs $570 million to complete its accessibility targets and it has not received confirmation from the province.

But a spokesperson for Quebec Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault said Saturday that her office hasn't refused any funding for accessibility and all requests are still being analyzed.

"The only thing I can understand from that is that we're caught in a political battle and we're paying the price at the end of the day," said Steve Laperrière, general manager of RAPLIQ, a province-wide disability rights organization.

The organization has sued the city for its lack of access to public transit. Laperrière says elevators, though costly, are game changers.

"The elevators are equal to freedom for disabled persons such as wheelchairs, the ambulators or walking canes for blind people," he said.

It's not just people with disabilities who use them.

Turcotte, meanwhile, has amassed hundreds of thousands of signatures in support of more accessibility funding from Ottawa and Quebec and she won't go down without a fight

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