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Montreal's Controversial REM de l'Est Light-Rail Project Has Been Delayed

Good news or bad news?

Senior Editor
Renderings of Montreal's REM de l'Est light-rail project showing trains approach downtown Montreal from the east.

Renderings of Montreal's REM de l'Est light-rail project showing trains approach downtown Montreal from the east.

The REM de l'Est, a planned 32-kilometre light-rail network connecting the East End, Montréal-Nord and downtown, has been delayed as the company behind the project, CDPQ Infra, postpones a critical environmental review process.

Consultations through the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE), which CDPQ Infra had outlined as a final step before the beginning of construction, were initially planned for sometime this year.

It's now unclear when those consultations will take place.

The REM de l'Est has faced heavy criticism from residents and the regional transit authority alike.

Residents decried the potential nuisance and unsightliness of elevated tracks and passing trains in dense neighbourhoods. The Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM), for its part, said in February that the REM de l'Est would suck riders away from the nearly parallel green line of the metro and do little to serve the transportation needs of East End residents.

CDPQ Infra tried to counter those arguments by introducing flashy new designs for tracks and stations, and by pointing to the potential for new housing and office development along its route.

In a statement shared with MTL Blog, CDPQ Infra communications director Jean-Vincent Lacroix suggested that the BAPE delay was due to disagreements about the project.

"With the magnitude of a project like the REM de l’Est, which is essential for the east and north-east of Montreal, we place great importance on all partners adhering to a common alignment," he said.

"Taking the time to ensure such alignment before launching the BAPE process is natural and necessary."

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