Budget: is Quebec doing enough for transport and the east of Montreal?
The CCEM covers the entire area east of Saint-Laurent Boulevard.
There will be no balance between investments in public transit and those in the road network in the next budgets, said Eric Girard, interviewed by Métro on this subject. The projects in the east of Montreal, they are not written in full in the budget, but they will be carried out, affirmed the Minister of Finance.
The government has disengaged from social and environmental issues with its budget, particularly in the east of Montreal, denounced, on March 23, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the Parti Québécois and deputy for Camille-Laurin. The budget does not include any sum of money specifically allocated to the Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital, the East structuring project (PSE), the redevelopment of Notre-Dame street or the decontamination of land.
< p>Added to this is the lack of balance in investments between public transit and the road network, something demanded by environmental organizations, the City of Montreal and the PQ. This would reveal a lack of vision in urban planning and transportation on the part of the Coalition avenir Québec, according to PSPP.
Lagging behind Ontario
On the issue of transport infrastructure, Eric Girard refuses to equalize the investment ratio – or even to reverse it as the PQ would like – because, according to him, there are many more roads in Quebec than in Ontario. In addition, he mentions the fact that Quebec is less populated than its neighbor Ontario.
Currently, 68% of Quebec investments in transportation infrastructure are allocated to the road network, the rest to public transportation. In Ontario, the ratio is reversed, 70% of investments go to public transit and 30% to automobile transportation. Despite this difference, the Minister of Finance maintains that great projects are finally underway after years of discussion, like the extension of the blue metro line, for example.
According to a compilation of Transport Canada data produced by Métro, Quebec has a road network 28% larger than that of Ontario (per capita), but investments in this network are 117% greater than in Ontario. Note that a majority of Quebecers – like Ontarians – live in urban areas.
Asked on the sidelines of his budget presentation to the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM), Eric Girard rejects criticism of his budget. He explains the absence of the PES in the budget by the rejection of the REM proposal in the East and the withdrawal of the CDPQ-Infra.
The Minister of Finance explains it this way: his government has invested $23 million in the eastern part of the city over three years. A sum that the deputy for Camille-Laurin nevertheless considers insufficient in relation to the needs. This sum is intended for short-term projects, but does not finance infrastructure, which justifies the amount of the envelope.
For Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, Mr. Girard assures that the project is so important that there is no need to worry about its absence from the budget. He considers this essential for the health network of the metropolis. The Minister did not justify the lack of concrete progress in the projects to redevelop Notre-Dame Street and decontaminate industrial land.
Furthermore, before CCMM President Michel Leblanc, the politician explained that the tax credit his government grants for large investments is less significant in Montreal than in certain regions because; there is an additional need to invest in certain regional county municipalities which are devitalized.