With Valérie Plante officially becoming the new mayor of Montreal, the city will be gaining a brand new piece of public transit infrastructure: the Pink Line.
One of Plante’s core election promises, the Pink Line will be a brand new addition to the STM metro network.
Connecting through several existing metro lines, the Pink Line will bridge Montreal Nord and Downtown, taking an estimated 22 minutes to go from one end of the line to the other.
29 stations will comprise the 29-kilometre metro line. The first phase of construction will build the 18 stations from Montreal Nord to downtown. A second phase will connect the Pink Line to Lachine.
Stations making up the metro line will also give the Pink Line a feminist edge. Planet has said that stations will be named after “the women and the people of the cultural communities who have greatly contributed to the city of Montreal.”
The building project will also provide jobs for Montrealers, said Plante, while also giving nearby businesses and uptick in customers.
In total, the public transit project will cost $5.9 billion.
And in addition to the Pink Line, Plante has also said that the Blue Line extension will also be a priority.
If we’re being honest, the Pink Line seemed like (in the word’s of now-defeated mayor Denis Coderre) a pipe dream, something Plante promised without thinking she’d ever get elected. Early on in the campaign, remember, polls showed that Coderre was the clear front-runner.
But now that Plante is the new mayor of Montreal, she and the Projet Montreal administration are going to need to deliver.
Of the $5.9 billion needed to fit the Pink Line’s bill, provincial and federal funds will cover most of the cost, said Plante. No one from either level of government has gone on-the-record to say this will be the case.
The money has to come from somewhere, and since Plante has also promised not to raise taxes for Montrealers, outside funding may be the only option.
It’s also worth remembering that Plante has already gone back on her promise for the Pink Line. Well, sort of.
When first announcing her intent to build the new metro line, everyone kind of assumed the project would be Plante’s first priority. In fact, Plante estimated we could get a functional Pink Line in Montreal by 2025.
That is no longer the case.
At the end of October, Plante double-backed on her initial outline. Construction on the Pink Line, said Plante, won’t actually get started until 2021. That’s the final year of Plante’s first term as mayor.
The Pink Line won’t actually get seriously underway until Plante’s second term (if she’s elected) with the project set to be completed by 2028.
Plante has said the added time will be used to gain necessary funding for the project and to conduct various studies.
This isn’t enough to lose faith in Plante entirely. Montreal’s new mayor hasn’t even had a day to serve in the role.
Still, this is politics, and Montrealers are used to painstakingly slow progress on infrastructure projects.
Plante may have pledged to improve construction practices in Montreal, but that’s easier said than done.
Hopefully, the Pink Line doesn’t become subject to constant delays. But it is a possibility, and not just because of building practices.
Without funding for the project set up, the Pink Line timeline could be set back further and further as Montreal waits for a commitment from the Couillard and Trudeau government.
Politicians like to take their time making decisions, and with three levels of government mixed into the Pink Line project, delays are practically expected.
So yes, with Valérie Plant as mayor we will probably get a new metro line. Will we get it by 2028? Probably not, but this public transit project will definitely serve as a litmus test of the new mayor.
If Plante can pull the Pink Line off, it will not only prove she’s a mayor of her word, but she’s also a municipal leader adept in navigating various channels and levels of government.