'Pink line has to be part of the plans,' Valérie Plante says

François Legault said this weekend the Pink line would not be a priority for his party, which is leading in the polls, should it win the upcoming provincial election. On Sunday, the mayor insisted it's the :only solution to the problems of saturation" in the city.

Montreal mayor steadfast after CAQ leader François Legault says new Metro line not a priority

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante made the Pink line a key proposal in her electoral bid. She says she's not giving up on building it. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says she won't give up on her goal to build the Pink line, despite not having support from the provincial party leading in the polls.

"If we're serious about environment, mobility, well, the Pink line has to be part of the plans," Plante said Sunday.

The proposed Pink line — a 29-kilometre line from Montreal North to Lachine, connecting some of the city's densest neighbourhoods — was the centrepiece of Plante's campaign.

The project, which carries an estimated $5.9-billion price tag, would require considerable support from both the province and federal government.

On Saturday, François Legault, leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec, said the Pink line would not be a priority should it win the upcoming provincial election.

"It's not that the Pink line isn't interesting," Legault said at the CAQ's national convention in Lévis, Que., just not "the most urgent."

The Pink line, an expansion to the Metro system, would run for 29 kilometres from Montreal North to Lachine (Projet Montréal)

The Pink line would be too close to Metro lines that already exist, he said.

"We had to make choices, and one of those choices was not to include the Pink line," Legault said, adding that the CAQ's plan for public transit will be announced in the next weeks.

Legault looks off island

He said, however, that he would be "very open" to funding transit projects off island, including an extension of the yet-to-be-built light-rail system, the Réseau express métropolitain, going north and south from Montreal. 

​Speaking to reporters Sunday, Plante said she would not be dissuaded. She said an office will soon be set up to answer questions about the technical and financial details.

"Notwithstanding the position of the CAQ announced this morning, we will continue to advance the project of the Pink line which is currently the only solution to the problems of saturation of the Montreal transportation network," Plante tweeted on Saturday.

On Twitter, Transport Minister André Fortin denounced Legault's remarks.

He said Legault "clearly doesn't believe in municipal autonomy," and is choosing his own priority projects.

With files from Valeria Cori-Monacchio and Radio-Canada's Romain Schué