Bordeleau slams Bureau-Blouin’s Metro extension plan

Bordeleau slams Bureau-Blouin’s Metro extension plan

Serves five percent of Laval territory at seven times the cost of streetcars

By Robert Frank

Laval mayoralty candidate Robert Bordeleau wonders why Léo Bureau-Blouin “wants to push the orange Metro line to Côte Vertu, when it will cost much more than $200 million per kilometre to build.”

Quebec’s youngest MNA announced, June 28, that he plans to press Parti québécois Minister of Transport Sylvain Gaudreault to commit to digging a new subway connection under the river, to relieve residents of his riding who have to endure a “monstrously overloaded” Metro system.

“All three [Metro stations] are located in one riding: Laval des Rapides,” Bureau-Blouin stated in his proposal.

Bordeleau, who is running for mayor under the Parti au service du citoyen banner, can’t fathom why Gaudreault would want to spend billions of taxpayers’ money “for a Metro which currently serves only five percent of Laval territory when, for about the same price, we could blanket the whole city with a tramway network.”

Bordeleau has long advocated surface rail as a better alternative to serve Laval commuters’ needs than the Metro, which is already operating well beyond capacity.

“The last time they projected the cost of extending the Metro 2007, it was estimated at $200 million per kilometre,” he explained “By the time that construction commenced a few years hence, it would probably cost $250 million per kilometer—plus the cost of digging a tunnel under the river to Montreal.”

“It would instead only cost $30-35 million per kilometer to build a tramway in Laval,” Bordeleau contrasted. “It would connect with the Metro and with the St. Jérôme and Deux Montagnes commuter trains, and cost a lot less to extend a tramway network to Montreal and the South Shore.”

“When Mr. Gaudreault was in Laval recently, I asked him about this,” Bordeleau told The Suburban. “He didn’t have an answer.”

Justifying the cost

“Public transit users directly contributed 31.2 percent of its [operating] cost in 2010,” wrote Bureau-Blouin.

“Users therefore already pay enough of the cost of public transit that the social benefits fully justify great public investment in its maintenance and development,” he asserted.

By comparison, the Toronto Transit Corporation recovered 63.2 percent of its operating costs from the farebox, during the same year.

In addition, the wildly popular commuter rail system serving Canada’s largest city, GO Transit, is almost completely self-financing. GO Transit, which long ago surpassed VIA Rail as Canada’s largest passenger train service, recovered 82.2 percent of its operating costs from users in 2011.

Note: In its previous report on this topic, The Suburban stated that Metro project involved “a projected cost of $230 million for the 5.2 kilometre underground extension.” That figure was the per kilometre price, implying a total price tag of $1.2 billion.

Parti au service du citoyen de Laval candidate for mayor Robert Bordeleau wants to build eleven streetcar lines in four phases, crisscrossing the entire island with links to Montreal, as a more cost-effective, environment-friendly alternative to extending the Laval Metro to connect with Côte Vertu station in St. Laurent.

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