West Island infrastructure neglected

By Kevin Woodhouse

For West Island commuters, 2013 will be seen as more time wasted trying to get somewhere that used to take less patience and less congestion. And until gas-powered engines are no longer the norm and hover cars are affordable (and real), patience will be the watchword of the coming year or years unless congestion easing projects are brought back to the forefront.

For Pierrefonds-Roxboro residents, the highway 440 extension, a file former Mayor Monique Worth spent a good deal of time on during her mandate, has been placed on the back-burner by the Parti québécois government. Not only would traffic flow be eased for daily commuters, the project would create a valuable north-south link and the development of the western portion of the borough, some 6,000 new homes.

Mayor Dimitrios (Jim) Beis had the construction of the boulevard as a major plank in his election campaign and now that he has been appointed a member of the city’s Executive Committee, perhaps the West Island will at least get a stronger voice in Montreal’s decisionmaking.

The Train de l’ouest project could see the light of the day as the Transport Quebec’s $22 million feasibility study agreed with the concept and the price tag which has been measured at about one billion in 2013 dollars as workable but with the founding of the organization almost four years ago, patience will be required on that file.

During a stopover in Pointe Claire this past October, Quebec Liberal Party Leader Philippe Couillard spoke to reporters on the issue, supporting the Train de l’ouest saying “there needs to be a dedicated rail line and this is a high level priority.”

Although the Agence métropolitain de transport’s recent idea to charge commuters the kindness of making sure they get to the parking lots early enough to claim a coveted space is akin to charging motorists a daily fee for driving over a federally funded bridge. Unfair to tax Quebecers who are taxed to the bones as it is.

Couillard also added that “if the Quebec Liberal Party forms the next majority government, we will jump-start all infrastructure projected abandoned by the PQ” which also included the 440 extension in Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

Perhaps there could be light at the end of the tunnel, or merely another sign denoting another construction site complete with the city of Montreal’s real mascot: the omnipresent orange cone.

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