The largest public transit project in the entire province of Quebec's history is happening right now!
This brand-new electric "light-rail" commuter train network will consist of 26 stations spanning approximately 67-kilometers.
This is an ambitious project, to say the least. Check it out!
Construction officially began in mid-April 2018 and has been underway ever since.
You can now easily spot the bright green REM posters where the main construction zones are located around the GMA area.
Although no official comments have been made regarding the impact construction will have on pedestrians and drivers, you can only imagine how a project of this scale will negatively impact getting around in the city on a day-to-day basis.
For example, The Gazette reported today that the entire east side of Mcgill College Avenue is currently being blocked off for construction over the next four months.
REM construction has already impacted roads in the West Island and affected commuter train schedules.
To make matters worse, The REM train is projected to be up-and-running by only 2023. As if regular seasonal construction is bad enough already, this massive project will be added to the 5-year agenda.
Who is behind this?
That said, it won't be cheap.
It will cost a whopping $6.3-billion to build the REM Train. This project will be funded mostly by the province’s largest pension fund manager, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.
In terms of capital and impact to roads and commuters, the cost of building the REM train is undoubtedly VERY high.
However, you can't ignore that the growing list of benefits could potentially outweigh the costs over the long-term.
Is it worth it?
First, in the short-term, the construction will create tons of jobs: 34,000 jobs during the construction period and 1,000 permanent jobs afterward.
Second, the train itself will greatly simplify commuting for residents of the GMA. For example, it will take only 20 minutes to ride from the airport to downtown. Compared to the 45-minute average it can take right now.
Hopefully, having this transit option in place will prompt residents to opt for taking public transit over their cars.
As a result, in the long-term, the environmental impact will be huge.
Lastly, from a more "superficial" point-of-view, we can see that the train and the station are going to look sleek and futuristic. This will definitely give a much-needed facelift to the city's outdated infrastructure.
TL;DR: The city of Montreal is facing the consequences of the construction of a brand-new electric "light-rail" commuter train network; currently being built in the GMA and projected to be complete by 2023.