Six weeks before municipal elections, mayors of Montreal, Laval and Longueuil are crowing about winning provincial support for extensions to the metro.

Gerald Tremblay of Montreal, Claude Gladu of Longueuil and Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt stood with Premier Jean Charest Wednesday afternoon to announce the first multi-line expansion of the metro system in 25 years.

"What we're announcing today is irreversible and the difference is this: the government of Quebec, for the first time, has formally endorsed a vision and a pretty concrete project of extending three lines," said Charest.

The first step is a three-year, $12 million feasibility study to determine costs, benefits, and the best routes for the track.

Jean Leveille of Transport 2000 has been lobbying for the extension for several years.

"We don't want the population to get scared of what it's going to cost. But I think for public transit users it's a good announcement anyway," said Leveille.

Orange-line loop

The proposed orange line extension will be looped from Laval's Montmorency station to Cote Vertu station, with a link at the Bois-Franc train station along the Deux-Montagnes commmuter line.

That adds add five stations to the orange line in Laval.

The proposal calls for construction to start on the blue line first.

Although a tunnel was built years ago to move the blue line west to Snowdon, all work on this extension will head east, into Anjou.

"The bureau may decide to go down the Snowdon route. Who knows? It's not on the table," said Charest.

The yellow line would be extended five stations deeper into Longueuil's dense urban neighbourhoods, possibly all the way to St. Hubert airport.

Not going west

As has been the case for decades, there are no firm plans to extend the metro into the west end or the West Island, although Joel Gauthier, the head of the Metropolitain Transit Agency said commuters should expect an announcement by the end of the year on building a dedicated train line to Trudeau airport.

"We think it's a better investment to have a surface metro that you could add services if we want to go further, and that means go the west tip of the island on the west part, Ste. Anne de Bellevue," said Gauthier.

Officials said the extensions would be built over a ten-year period, but refused to be pinned down on costs or a starting date.