Trudeau backs Montreal's 'ambitious' light-rail project

via CBC

Ottawa commits $1.28-billion to electric rail system connecting downtown to suburbs, airport

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government's $1.28-billion investment in Montreal's light-rail system will ease the burden on commuters and contribute to the fight against climate change. 

The electric-rail project, which is led by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and also has funding from the Quebec government, will link Montreal's downtown to its suburbs and international airport. 

Trudeau confirmed his government will fund the "ambitious" plan, known by its French acronym REM, on Thursday at Montreal's Central Station.

"In addition to making it quicker and easier for millions of Quebec residents to get around, the REM will reduce the number of cars on the roads, help ease traffic and make the air cleaner," Trudeau said.

"With this historic investment, we're taking a huge step in the right direction."

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and the head of the Caisse, Michael Sabia, were also on the hand for the announcement.

The funding comes after months of negotiations — and questions about whether Ottawa would back the plan.

The Trudeau government made no mention of funding the project in their spring budget, prompting concern from Couillard.

On Thursday, Trudeau said the investment is consistent with his government's broader commitment to improving public transit across the country.

The price tag for the 67-kilometre rail line, which would link downtown with the South Shore and the West Island, has risen to $6 billion in order to add more stations in the city's downtown area.