PQ plan to inject $1B in public transit fails to impress

Critics are slamming the Parti Québécois government's new strategy for sustainable transportation.

Quebec government plans to transfer funds from roads to public transit over 6 years

The Quebec government has announced plans to transfer one billion dollars originally designated for new roads and bridges to public transportation. (CBC file photo)

Critics are slamming the Parti Québécois government's new strategy for sustainable transportation.

Transportation Minister Sylvain Gaudreault announced plans to invest one billion dollars, originally earmarked for new roads and bridges, to repair buses, trains and metro tunnels.

Gaudreault said the investment will amount to a six per cent increase for public transit by 2020. He said the government will hold consultations with various transit authorities about how to simplify services for users – who now have to deal with more than a dozen different agencies in the Greater Montreal region alone.  

However, the strategy fails to address some urgent needs, according to Liberal transportation critic David Heurtel.

“It's basically a mess how public transport is being governed right now, with the provincial entities and the regional entities,” Leblanc said. “And what does the minister have as a solution? ‘We'll do a committee, and we'll talk about it some more.’”

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said the funding is a step in the right direction.

But the president of Montreal’s Board of Trade, Michel Leblanc, said there’s a major flaw with the plan — it doesn't address the $20 million shortfall in the STM’s operating budget.

The public transit corporation announced cuts to several of its routes earlier this year, including scaled-back service on the 747 airport shuttle bus.