Federal government helps fund Quebec City’s tramway

The federal government is giving Quebec City $1.2 billion for its planned tramway project, and to develop the public transit system being built to support the tram.

That includes constructing 16 kilometres of reserved bus lanes and two tunnels, including one underneath the National Assembly.

The provincial government is providing the lion’s share of funding, $1.8 billion, while Quebec City is spending $300 million of its own.

In all the project will involve 23 kilometres of tramway track, and two tram bus lines running for 15 kilometres, once completed in 2026.

The capital city has wanted to improve its public transit system for the past decade and is touting the project as modern, clean, good for the city’s economy, and a way to get 12,000 cars off the road.

“[Monday’s] announcement is part of the federal government’s commitment to make our communities even better places to call home and we know that it starts with infrastructure,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Once completed the tram will mean a faster commute, less time in traffic, cleaner air, and more money in people’s pockets as they trade their cars for public transit.”

The federal government originally was going to give the province more than $5 billion for public transit infrastructure, with most of it earmarked for Montreal because the spending formula is based on ridership.

However Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante agreed that $800 million could go to Quebec City instead because its tram project was ready to proceed.

Plante wanted assurances from the province that Montreal would get the funding needed to lay the groundwork for her preferred transit option, the Pink Metro line.

That did not happen, but earlier this year Plante and the Quebec government did announce the construction of a new transit system to run along Notre Dame St. into Lachine. That will eventually connect to a tramway planned for Montreal’s East End.

In light of the Quebec City announcement, Plante reiterated she’s hoping federal politicians on the campaign trail keep Montreal’s transit system in mind.

“What I want to make sure is that during the election that all the parties accept to move forward, to continue this envelope that is dedicated to the public transport but it’s based on ridership, because Montreal as the metropolis and the big Montreal area needs to have more money because we are the metropolis and half of the population of Quebec lives here,” said Plante.

Quebec City’s Mayor Regis Lebeaume in turn, praised Valerie Plante today for her excellent cooperation.