Province rejects Montreal's plan for Turcot interchange
Less than 24 hours after the city of Montreal proposed a new plan for the Turcot interchange, the province has flatly rejected the idea.
Transport Minister Julie Boulet says Montreal's idea, at an estimated cost of $6 billion, is just too expensive.
"If we can build an interchange for $2 billion, do we really have the luxury and the means to spend $6 billion?" Boulet asked rhetorically at a news conference.
Provincial opposition member Scott McKay pleaded with Boulet not to reject the idea out of hand.
"Align the right figures and that should include also environmental, social costs, [and] health costs," said McKay.
Mayor Gerald Tremblay reacted instantly, saying the premier has to get involved and force Boulet to listen to what the public is demanding.
"We don't want to give the impression that money is not important and time is not of the essence," said Tremblay.
But he disputes the cost that Boulet is associating with the project.
"Can we see the numbers?" asked Tremblay. "I haven't seen the numbers. No one has seen the province's numbers."
"As mayor of Montreal I don't have those numbers!"
The city's proposal had several ideas to improve the quality of life for Montreal residents, including a park between the St. Jacques escarpment and highway 20, and a tramway from downtown to Lachine.
Boulet says the provincial plan will be tweaked to include some of those ideas, but failed to specify which ones.
She did point out that speed is now of the essence, as 280,000 vehicles a day rely on the failing Turcot interchange, and it must be completed in the next few years.
"The infrastructure has to deal with the economic lifeblood of Montreal," Boulet said.
However the number of vehicles relying on the Turcot is expected to drop at the end of 2012, when highways 25 and 30 around Montreal are expected to be completed.