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Ensemble Montréal proposes diverting Pink Line funds to plan tramway

Montreal’s opposition says the Plante administration should kill the office to study the Pink Line of the métro, and divert the money to study a tramway in the East End.

On Monday evening, Ensemble Montréal published an amendment it plans to propose at the Wednesday city council meeting to approve the city’s $5.7-billion budget. It says the $1 million earmarked for the creation of a municipal project office to study the construction of a new line of the métro system should be instead used to create an office to study a tramway in the eastern part of the island that would link to the downtown area.

The Coalition Avenir Québec government has proposed building a tramway in its platform, and Ensemble Montréal leader Lionel Perez said money would be better spent studying a project that the government already seems interested in supporting. Chantal Rouleau, a former borough mayor of Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles, was elected as an MNA on Oct. 1, and was appointed the new CAQ government’s minister responsible for the Montreal region. There is currently a byelection campaign underway to fill the seat.

Perez said Monday that Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has a “fixation” with the Pink Line to the detriment of other potential projects.

1953: A streetcar heading south along St. Laurent Blvd. approaches Craig St. (now St. Antoine St). Electric trams ran on the streets of Montreal from 1892 until 1959, when they were mothballed to make room for the new king of the road, the automobile. Montreal Gazette Files

He said the provincial government has been clear the Pink Line is not on its list of priorities in the short, medium or long term, so using money to study the project is not useful.

“To spend $1 million on something that is not a priority for the Quebec government, we think is just another example of how the current administration wastes money,” he said. “The mayor of Montreal has to put aside her fixation, not to say obsession with the Pink Line and look at the facts. It doesn’t serve anybody if all you do is keep repeating a certain promise that has no chance of materializing in the short and medium term.”

The amendment is one of several the opposition plans to propose during Wednesday’s city council meeting. Perez said the full list of amendments will be made public on Tuesday morning.

The amendments require a majority vote in city council, which means they need support from members of the Projet Montréal party.