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Ottawa, Quebec to Valérie Plante: We love you, but no cash for Metro Pink line just yet

Federal and provincial politicians celebrated Valérie Plante's historic election as Montreal's mayor Monday but made no promises about committing money to her signature project, a proposed new $6-billion dollar Metro line.

Philippe Couillard, Mélanie Joly welcome Montreal's mayor-elect but play coy on cash for her signature project

Premier Philippe Couillard speaks to reporters in Montreal Monday about Valérie Plante's historic election victory. (Steve Rukavina/CBC)

Federal and provincial politicians celebrated Valérie Plante's historic election as Montreal's mayor Monday but made no promises about committing money to her signature project, a proposed new $6-billion Metro Pink line.

Speaking to reporters in Montreal Monday, Premier Phillipe Couillard praised Plante for running a positive campaign.

"A campaign with a lot of substance but also conducted with a smile, and I think this is what people want today," Couillard said.

In Ottawa, federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly — herself a former Montreal mayoral candidate — called Plante's election "very good news," saying it was refreshing to see a progressive woman elected to the mayor's post.

"It will be my pleasure to work with her on many different subjects," Joly said during a scrum in the House of Commons.

Pink line promises?

When it came to discussing contributing cash to Plante's Pink line, Couillard and Joly were less specific.

Throughout her campaign, Plante touted the new Metro line, telling voters there is a window of opportunity to draw on large federal and provincial infrastructure funds to help pay for it.
Federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly called Plante's election "very good news," but she made no commitment to come up with money for Projet Montréal's Pink line proposal. (CBC news)

But much of those funds has already been earmarked for other public transit infrastructure projects, and the province has said its priority is extending the existing Metro Blue line.

Both levels of government have committed large amounts of cash to the Caisse de Depot et Placement's ambitious LRT project.

Is there any money left for a Pink line?

Not saying yes, not saying no

"We have many projects on the go right now, and we'll discuss them all with Madame Plante," Couillard said.

He refused to commit to the Pink line but said that he and Plante share a commitment to sustainable mobility and that he looked forward to meeting with her soon.

"We're ready to study all projects with her," Joly said in Ottawa, noting in the same breathe that the federal government had already invested heavily in the LRT project.

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, Plante will have to show she has the ability to cajole money out of other levels of government.

It's something Denis Coderre had some success at during his time as mayor, and it will be a major challenge for Plante if she wants to fulfil her biggest campaign promise.

Projet Montréal's proposed Pink line would be built between 2021 and 2027. (Projet Montréal)

About the Author

Steve Rukavina

Steve Rukavina is a journalist with CBC Montreal.