Montreal métro: Green light for Blue Line extension

via Montreal Gazette

After 40 years of empty promises, Premier Philippe Couillard and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to St-Léonard Monday to announce the Montreal métro’s Blue Line will be extended eastward for five stops, to be opened in 2026.

Couillard stressed that this pledge could be trusted because it comes with a significant amount of cash attached: $365 million, going mainly to the cost of expropriating houses, buildings and land to construct métro stations and bus terminals, and funding for a business and technical plan that will allow the Société de transport de Montréal to put out calls for tenders for construction work slated to begin in 2020.

“Unlike previous times the extension was announced, we have already put money aside and sent notices of expropriation to many homeowners and landowners,” Couillard said. “That is not the kind of thing you just undo.”

Couillard added that it was the first time an announcement was made with Canada’s prime minister present, providing more reason to believe.

The total cost of the extension is estimated at $3.9 billion, but Couillard cautioned that was still preliminary and could change. He countered the assertions of former city councillor Richard Bergeron, who published a letter in Le Devoir saying the cost estimates were wildly overpriced, in comparison with costs of building métro stations in Laval. Costs for expropriation and purchasing land are far lower in Laval, Couillard said.