Martin C. Barry
With a provincial election scheduled for this fall and a federal election also set for the end of next year, there’s no better time than now it would seem for elected officials from Quebec City and Ottawa to make good on past pledges to inject more money into environmentally-sustainable public transit projects.
Buses and electrification
Leaders from the federal and provincial governments were at Société de transport de Laval administrative headquarters on May 11 to announce a combined investment of $26.8 million for the realization of 14 transit-related projects by the STL. The purchase of new buses being will be the main expenditure, although the STL also plans to use some of the funding to launch its first all-electric bus line.
Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue in the Trudeau Liberal government, and Saul Polo, MNA for Laval-des-Rapides with the Quebec Liberals, were joined by other federal, provincial and municipal officials to announce the funding, which was being made under the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.
Ottawa, Quebec, STL
The federal government will be providing more than $14.9 million for the projects, while Quebec will contribute over $11.9 million. The STL will provide the remaining funding. In addition to the electrified bus line and the new buses, the money will also be used to add new technologies to streamline boarding for passengers.
Once completed, according to the STL and the two governments, the STL’s performance, efficiency and reliability will be improved, public transit in Laval will be more inclusive and allow the STL to meet the community’s immediate needs while preparing for anticipated future increases in ridership.
Boosting the economy
“The governments of Canada and Quebec recognize that investing in public transit infrastructure is crucial to economic growth, reducing air pollution, and creating inclusive communities where everyone has access to public services and job opportunities,” the two governments said in a joint statement.
“Modern efficient public transit infrastructure plays an important role in the development of sustainable communities and the growth of the middle class,” said Lebouthillier, speaking on behalf of Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi.
“By investing in projects such as these in Laval, the Government of Canada is helping communities across Quebec improve residents’ mobility, meet increasing demand and provide key amenities to encourage economic development,” she added.
Public transit’s importance
“I am particularly pleased to see that governments at the federal and provincial levels have taken the importance of transportation in the Laval region to heart,” said Polo, speaking on behalf of André Fortin, Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification in the Quebec Liberal cabinet.
“These investments will support a clean-growth economy that will benefit Laval residents for generations,” said Vimy Liberal MP Eva Nassif.
“The City of Laval is pleased with the funding provided by the Canadian and Quebec governments for the STL to carry out innovative projects, the primary objective of which is to make public transport more attractive to Laval residents,” said Mayor Marc Demers.
‘Right direction,’ says Demers
“This series of projects, made possible through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF), is an integral part of our efforts to promote active and public transportation while decreasing our greenhouse gas emissions,” Demers added. “This is definitely a step in the right direction.”
“The STL is very grateful for this new show of confidence from the Canadian and Quebec governments,” said Laval city councillor Gilbert Dumas, who is president of the STL. “We are particularly excited about this new set of projects, many of which will mark the history of the STL, notably in terms of electrification.”
Dumas said the 14 approved projects “will allow the STL not only to modernize its equipment, but also to maintain its status as a leader in providing passengers with real-time information and in embracing all forms of innovation, with the goal to provide service that is always more efficient and viable than solo driving.”