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Montreal mayor feels Quebec budget will lead to cuts in public transit services


Some are criticizing the CAQ's 2024 budget over the lack of support for public transit.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said it's a big mistake and could lead to cuts in services.

"Right now, I'm disappointed, but I'm not going to leave it at that," said Plante. "There's no way. We're going to fight."

The mayor is not the only one disappointed.

The budget will cut $400 million in provincial aid for public transportation and does not include any new investment for future projects.

Public transit agencies have been calling for more financing to help with fewer riders and less revenue since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The Montreal regional transportation authority (ARTM) said in a statement: "For us, the impasse remains regarding sharing the shortfall of $561 million from public transit for the year 2025. Faced with this situation, we may have to recommend difficult choices."

Plante worries that service cuts may result.

"Cutting services to me would be such a failure for our society," she said. "We need to create more option, not less, more services, more frequency at a good price."

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante speaks during a press conference for Montreal International to discuss last year's investments and results in Montreal, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. (Christinne Muschi, The Canadian Press)

Alliance TRANSIT, which advocates for collective transportation, said the government is moving backward.

"We're continuing to invest and prioritize the road system above the public transit, whereas we're facing a growing population," said Francis Garnier of the Alliance. "We're facing a growing, much faster amount of cars across the province, and we need public transit to answer that."

The mayor said she can't see how the government will meet its emissions targets or its urban planning objectives if it doesn't invest in the future.

"There's articles about cities that want to create more density, build more, be higher, of course, and that's in Montreal," she said. "But if you talk to mayors also in the suburbs, I'll say we want to have more density, but what about the public transit options?"

Plante is calling on Finance Minister Éric Girard to meet with the province's cities as soon as possible. Top Stories

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