REM station at the airport: Montreal urges Quebec and Ottawa to come to an agreement

The Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, estimates that Quebec has sufficiently invested in the project of more than 6 billion dollars and rather invites its counterpart in Ottawa, Marc Garneau, to increase its financing for this station.

We believe that efforts can still be made by the Montreal airport, which comes under the federal government and not Quebec, in the search for a solution for the financing of this project.

François Bonnardel, Minister of Transport

Prime Minister François Legault echoed Mr. Bonnardel’s position at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. We think the station at the airport [Montréal-]Trudeau must be paid either by ADM, the owner, or by the federal government, which was the previous owner, he answered a question in English.

It is urgent to have a station at the airport [Montréal-]Trudeau. The fact that a big city like Montreal does not have a station at its main airport does not make sense, he added.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau did not reveal Thursday whether he intended to make up for this lack of funds, but he said he was disappointed with the provincial government’s decision to withdraw from the link project between the transport network by community and the airport, after several months of work in collaboration with his government.

One thing is certain, however, the project will come true, according to Pablo Rodriguez, lieutenant of Justin Trudeau in Quebec.

We are at one minute to midnight, [les travaux] are moving fast despite COVID-19. I hope that Quebec will be at the table, but we will definitely be there.

Justin Trudeau’s lieutenant in Quebec, Pablo Rodriguez, on the show The 15-18

He deplores the fact that Quebec is withdrawing from the project the very week it announces its green plan. [Le déploiement du REM] is exactly one of the things you need to do to lower greenhouse gas emissions, he adds.

Commitment unequivocal d’Ottawa

Aéroports de Montréal was initially supposed to invest in the project, but the organization turned to Ottawa and Quebec, for lack of resources due to the pandemic. The organization claims to be unable to inject the $ 600 million needed for the work.

The government of Quebec has already contributed to the REM to the tune of $ 1.28 billion, recalls the minister’s office in a press release, and Hydro-Québec contributed $ 295 million.M $ for the implementation of mitigation measures “,” text “:” In addition, the government has invested $ 192M for the implementation of mitigation measures “}}” lang = “fr”>In addition, the government has invested $ 192 million for the implementation of mitigation measures, lit-on.

The REM route

Photo : CDPQ Infra

Ottawa reiterates the importance of the project so that the Montréal-Trudeau airport is comparable to other airports in the world. It’s a bit annoying that our international airport is not connected to the public transport network, admet Pablo Rodriguez.

An assertion that echoes the reaction of the City of Montreal, for whom the failure of the construction of this station would be unimaginable.

The connection from our city center to the airport is necessary for the attraction of foreign investment, the mobility of workers and the dynamism of the tourism industry.

Youssef Amane, director of communications for the mayor, by press release

The City fears that the withdrawal of a financial partner at this stage of the project does not jeopardize its achievement.

Negotiations in the public square

Quebec’s withdrawal should not spell the end of the project, according to the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, Michel Leblanc. Everyone is convinced that it takes a REM station in Montreal-Trudeau […] I have no worries.

When I see the people who say that it is in danger, I tell you, it is negotiation in the public square.

Michel Leblanc, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Mr. Leblanc nevertheless believes that the responsibility for this funding should lie with the federal government. We’re in a standoff over who should finance [le projet], knowing that whoever was ready to do it can no longer do it, explains Michel Leblanc. I think that in the end, if we say to ourselves that it is up to the federal government to act, the federal government has the institutions to do so.

The Bloc Quebecois MP for Montarville, Stéphane Bergeron, agrees.

We are not saying that there will be no REM station at Montreal-Trudeau airport, he said. But I think Quebec is right to say that the airport is first and foremost a federal jurisdiction. So we may expect a more substantial intervention from Ottawa in this matter.

The airport sees its revenues fall

According to information obtained by The Hurry, the Trudeau government is preparing an aid plan for the aviation sector that will also include airports. ADM may receive additional funding with fixed repayment terms.

In June, the Chairman and CEO ofADM, Philippe Rainville, asked Quebec and Ottawa to grant a loan accompanied by flexible repayment conditions depending on the restoration of his income for the project to materialize.

Unlike other stations in the REM, the YUL-Aéroport-Montréal-Trudeau station was to be financed by ADM. The non-profit corporation has entered into an agreement on this subject with the Caisse de dépôt, project manager of the REM, in order to align everything with its project to completely redevelop access to the airport, estimated at $ 2.5 billion.

Work to dig a tunnel to the airport began a few weeks ago. It is expected that the network will be able to serve the airport in 2024.

With information from Yasmine Khayat

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