'It's a farce': West Island lobbyists concerned about Train de l'Ouest's future
A coalition of West Island mayors is worried about the future of the Train de l'Ouest.
They’ve long been pushing for passenger lines linking downtown to Ste-Anne de Bellevue.
A new interview with Premier Philippe Couillard glaringly omits the project, suggesting Quebec has other plans.
In a mid-term interview with La Presse, Couillard said the green light will soon be given to the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec for two major electric public transportation projects that were announced last year, at an estimated cost of $5 billion.
One electric train will leave downtown Montreal to get to Trudeau Airport, and one will travel over the Champlain Bridge.
Couillard also spoke of the extension for the Montreal metro’s blue line.
West Island lobbyists for the Train de l'Ouest project say they're very concerned this may mean there's not enough money left for a new dedicated train along the existing Vaudreuil line. Their plan would include more stations and double the amount of departures along that corridor.
Clifford Lincoln, former MNA and head of the Train de l’Ouest coalition, has been lobbying for the service for years.
"It's a farce," said Lincoln. "If it means that it services the airport only and leaves out Pointe-Claire, Beaconsfield and Ste-Anne's residents, then it’s a farce. If it doesn't service our industrial sites, it’s a farce."
Lincoln has held many meetings with the Quebec government, and long battled for better train service for the western suburbs.
"We're always coming in last, and we're getting fed up. I tell you, we've fought very hard for something that is justified, for years and years our citizens have been asking for. It's almost as if our citizens don't count in the equation."
Baie-d'Urfé Mayor Maria Tutino said Couillard has been in their corner.
“The train de l'Ouest is a project that the government of Quebec, including the premier, has been openly, publicly, and financially supportive of.
The premier's office could not be reached for comment Saturday.
In the La Presse interview, he touts the airport rail line, saying it will "improve the quality of life for residents of the West Island."
Airport authority Aéroports de Montreal endorsed alternate route to Dorval, which would then travel north to Dollard, stopping near Fairview in Pointe-Claire.
The Caisse reportedly may not build beyond the airport any time soon, however, another point of concern for West Island mayors.
“All I can say is that the West Island doesn't stop at the airport. That's not what we consider the West Island,” said Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle.
Tutino is demanding answers from local MNAs.
“I'm expecting the government to say, ‘Don’t worry, be happy. That is the Caisse's solution, now here's the government's solution and the Train de l'Ouest will be done by 2020,’” she said.
The announcement on a final project is expected as early as next month.
With a report from La Presse Canadienne