The Quebec government is recommending an electric light rail train system as the best mode of public transit for the proposed new Champlain Bridge, expected to be built over the next decade.
"It is more cost effective, it is clean," said Jean-François Lisée, the PQ minister responsible for the Montreal region, adding it will use "our assets, our electricity."
Lisée also said it will provide transportation across the South Shore for many more commuters — more than four times the number who now use the bus to cross the bridge during the morning rush hour.
LRT would quadruple morning transit users
"During the three hours of rush hour in the morning 22,000 people use the bus system. With the LRT, 100,000 will be able to use the LRT instead of buses," said Lisée.
He said even with an LRT system there would continue to be bus service on the bridge.
The Quebec government is not putting a price tag on the cost of an LRT system.
The new bridge project, which has an overall estimated cost of $5 billion, is a federal responsibility. However, public transit falls to the province. Just the same, Lisée expects Ottawa to help foot the LRT bill.
Quebec is earmarking $28 million for a working group to look more closely at the LRT system.
The head of the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT), Nicolas Girard, says the LRT will cover 15 kilometres, involve seven or eight stations and will take commuters "between 17 and 19 minutes to come to Montreal."