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The 38 Year Wait

The 38 Year Wait

Monday, after weeks of rumours and speculation, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally confirmed $32 million will be used to develop a business plan for the metro’s blue line, extending it East towards Anjou. It’s the fourth time in 30 years the blue line’s extension to Anjou has been officially announced.

The much-awaited blue line extension will include 5.8 km of tracks, five new stations, an underground pedestrian tunnel linking the metro to the planned express bus service in Pie-IX, two new bus terminals and a 1,200 vehicle underground parking lot.

The project’s first phase includes technical, logistical and financial planning; an additional $330 million has been set aside by the provincial government for land acquisition and expropriations. Financing for subsequent phases will be announced later, but the federal government is expected to contribute 60% of the costs, while the province extends 40%.

Trudeau expressed deep satisfaction, mentioning that one of the future stations will be in his riding.

For years, the East end of the island is underserved by existing transportation networks.

Justin Trudeau

For his part, Couillard defied skeptics by calling the project “irreversible” and “guaranteed”.  

We cannot tell people to leave their homes [due to expropriation] and then change our minds.

Philippe Couillard

Once the announced planning phase concludes in 2020, we’ll know exactly how much the project will cost and who will pay for it, but construction is expected to be finished by 2026.

If this 2026 deadline is respected, Montrealers will have waited no less than 38 years for the blue line extension to be completed. The project was first “officially” announced by Liberal transport minister Marc-Yvan Côté in 1988. It was then re-announced in 2009 by Premier Jean Charest, and a third time by Pauline Marois’ transport minister, Sylvain Gaudrault.

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