Quebec investing up to $15M to study public transit projects, including Montreal's Pink line

The Pink line project, a proposed, 29-kilometre Metro line from Montreal North to Lachine, was a key part of Valérie Plante's mayoral campaign.

Running from Montreal North to Lachine, the Pink line was a key part of Valérie Plante's mayoral campaign

Transport Minister André Fortin has announced funding for transit agencies to look into a number of projects in the Montreal area, including the proposed Pink line. (Radio-Canada)

Quebec's Transport Ministry will invest up to $15 million to study a number of public transit projects in the Montreal area, including the Pink Line, a passion project for Mayor Valérie Plante, which would run from the city's north end to the southwest. 

Plante was all smiles as Transport Minister André Fortin made the announcement outside Longueuil metro station Wednesday. 

"You can imagine how happy I am to be talking to you about the Pink line," Plante told reporters, laughing.

Up until now, provincial government officials, including Premier Philippe Couillard, had refused to make any promises related to the Pink line project.

Fortin did not provide a specific time frame for when the studies would start or be completed.

However, the goal is to start work on the approved projects after Montreal's light-rail network (REM) is completed and once work to extend the STM's blue line is well underway, he said.

Thirty to 40 per cent of the REM is expected to be completed by 2021, while Couillard said earlier this year that the blue line would be done by 2026.

Orange, Yellow line extensions also to be studied

The other projects being studied include an extension of the Metro's Orange line to Saint-Laurent and deeper into Laval, as well as an extension of the Yellow line past Longueuil, on Montreal's South Shore.

Other projects that will be examined include:

  • A Mascouche train line.
  • A possible extension of the rapid bus transit lane on Pie-IX Boulevard.
  • A rapid bus transit lane on Notre-Dame Street, toward downtown.
  • A new, public transit system on Taschereau Boulevard in Longueuil.

Last year, Quebec's transport ministry gave the regional transportation authority (ARTM) the task of coordinating the work of the different transit agencies around Montreal.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, centre, was joined by several mayors of municipalities around Montreal, including Sylvie Parent of Longueuil, for the announcement. (Radio-Canada)

What projects gain approval, and when construction will begin, depends on the results of the respective studies, Plante said.

She said she was excited about a possible extension of the Orange line, which she described as the "backbone" of the city's Metro network.

Pink line proposed to go from Montreal North to Lachine

In response to questions from reporters, Fortin said studying the Pink line could result in a new version of the project that differs from Projet Montréal's original proposal.

The plan — a key part of Plante's mayoral campaign — was to build a 29-kilometre line from Montreal North to Lachine.

The promise to build the Pink line has been compared to the Blue line extension, an idea which was first floated in 1979 but has yet to materialize.

Plante said things have changed, however.

"Now, it's not so much about the opposition of building roads versus building Metros and different types of public transport," she said after the press conference. "We're in a place now where people can see both and want to have both."

With files from CBC's Jay Turnbull