Labeaume well in the saddle

If the Legault government counted on the departure of the mayor, in 2021, to drop the tramway project, he could be forced to review his strategy.

Our Léger-Le Journal poll clearly shows that at one year before the election, not only would people still support Régis Labeaume in the majority, but that the tram file is the main issue that influences their choice.

Safeguarding the structuring network project is one of the reasons that could encourage the mayor to seek a new mandate, as he indicated during an editorial interview with Le Journal last week.

Anyway, the exit of the Minister of Transport, who reacted to the devastating report of the BAPE, yesterday, highlights two major points.

The good news is that the Government of Quebec still supports the light rail project. The worst part is that in wanting to serve too much territory when leaving, he will do exactly what he says he wants to avoid: throw the baby out with the bathwater.

There is indeed a real danger in wanting to reduce the route of the tramway supposedly to better serve the suburbs, as the Prime Minister proposed yesterday.

Experts have frequently explained that, to be attractive, a structuring network must be frequent, fast, comfortable and reliable. If people don’t see enough gains when they use it, they’ll just skip their turn.

By phases

It is as if the government saw the project upside down. He should consider it as a first major phase, which could be improved thereafter. As is done everywhere else.

When it was inaugurated in 1966, the Montreal metro had 26 stations and three lines that covered 22 kilometers. Several additions and extensions were then made over the years, to arrive today with 68 stations, spread over four lines and 71 kilometers.

A structuring transport network evolves in several stages, because of the high costs.

Instead, we want to satisfy everyone, serve the entire territory, but without planning a penny more than the 3.3 billion. It was a strategic error of Mayor Labeaume to exclude this possibility of asking for more.

Third link

It was also rather funny to see Minister Bonnardel jump at the opportunity to review the tramway project to further delay the presentation of the third link. This was supposed to take place last winter, but was pushed back to spring, then summer, then fall, and still is.

The CAQ dared to promise, in 2018, to begin construction of the project within this mandate. At the rate things are going, it’s hard to see what they can do other than a symbolic and … laughable shovelful of dirt.

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