2024 – Structuring Project East


The $18.6 billion tram that the Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority (ARTM) wants to build has met with a mixed response. While Quebec appears to be welcoming the project, other stakeholders are concerned that the project “is unlikely to open up the east” as the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) would have done.

“We reaffirm our intention to push forward a project in the East. […] “We want to open up the east of Montreal, we want a connection in Lanaudière. And it is a project that could become one of the first mandates of the Mobilité Infra Québec agency,” said Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault on Friday.

Earlier, The press found that the east Montreal streetcar would ultimately cost nearly six billion more than expected, or a total of $18.6 billion, depending on the option recommended by ARTM.

Ultimately, Quebec will decide after a total of five scenarios have been presented, but it seems that a positive consensus is already emerging. Behind the scenes, government sources suggest that the $18.6 billion route is “by far the most interesting,” although nothing has been ruled out.

Essentially, this line will reconnect an underground section beneath the Rivière des Prairies and include three new stations – one in Montréal-Est and two in Repentigny – for a total of seven kilometres of additional track, resulting in 10,000 more rail users being carried per day. It will also run along Highway 40 in Repentigny, rather than Notre-Dame Street. There will be little change on the island.

On Friday, Marc Dionne, head of the Eastern Structuring Project (PSE), called for “vehicle suppliers to be involved as early as possible” in the design process, as well as those who will maintain them, “to ensure that operational issues that [avec le train léger] of Ottawa and other northern cities” are not repeated in Montreal.

A denounced “injustice” for the East

At Vivre en ville, managing director Christian Savard is more skeptical. “The proposal meets certain internal needs in the east, but it will probably not open up the east to the other half of the metropolitan area in the same way as the western REM. This injustice will weaken the east,” he says.

“I am particularly concerned about the northeast of Montreal – Montréal-Nord and Rivière-des-Prairies – where a pink line and an REM were promised, but where, despite the distance and population density, there will still be no heavy goods traffic,” Savard insisted. “It is a project that is being treated in isolation and with too limited a mandate,” he argued, even questioning the effectiveness of the streetcar method.

This is a very urban intermediate mode. This is where we seem to want to let him play [un rôle] Light rail or commuter rail. Given what is happening in Ottawa, we may ask ourselves whether we are making the same mistake.

Christian Savard, CEO of Living in the City

The general director of Trajectoire Québec, Sarah V. Doyon, regrets that the connection with downtown Montreal has still not been restored. “This should not happen in a second phase when the green line is at full capacity, as the ARTM says. If that is the case, at the rate at which we operate public transport in Quebec, we will be in sardine class for another 20 years,” she notes.

Trams to be delivered

At the Montreal Chamber of Commerce (CCMM), President and CEO Michel Leblanc is calling on Quebec to “consider a collective call for tenders for all Quebec tram projects expected to be implemented over the next 15 years, including the project on the south shore of Montreal.” “We would then have a better chance of attracting the interest of the major players in the sector,” said Mr. Leblanc.

On a political level, liberal transport critic Monsef Derraji lamented on Friday: “People in the capital are wondering today where their restructuring plan has gone.” “There is no tram, no third link, no bridge. The difference is that in Montreal the ARTM took the lead, but here we are wondering where the minister's leadership has gone,” he said.

Hit to the core, MMe Guilbault responded that “the last time the Liberals did something constructive in Quebec was several years ago.” “For Quebec, it's imminent, we will present the CDPQ-Infra report with our vision,” she said. Everything should be done by mid-June.

Minister Guilbault also distanced himself from the decision taken on Thursday by municipalities in the Greater Montreal area to increase the registration tax by 150 percent to finance public transport. He stressed that it was normal “for the elected officials concerned to assume part of the responsibility.”

With Hugo Pilon-Larose, The press

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  • 30km/h
    A priori, the tram will travel at an average commercial speed of 30 km/h on the section through Montreal, but will be able to reach speeds of up to 100 km/h in the tunnel and on Highway 40.