Train de l’ouest wants phase one to begin, not another study

Lincoln: ‘We have to keep pushing and not pushed back for another year.’

By Kevin Woodhouse

Since the grassroots organization Train de l’ouest was founded, co-founder Clifford Lincoln, the many volunteers as well as West Island mayors who support the dedicated light rail commuter project, have dealt with three separate transport ministers and now Lincoln is hoping for a formal meeting with MTQ head Robert Poëti sooner than later.

“We are starting to crank up again and what we want is action rather than dilly dallying,” Lincoln, the former Lac St. Louis MP, told The Suburban.

What Lincoln is hoping for is direct action from the government and that phase one of the project begins. The first time, Lincoln agreed, is to have the trench needed at the Montreal West station begin, a hefty price tag of about $100 million.

Two other steps forward would be to redo the train station at Lachine as well as adding more trains. What the local organization is not hoping for is having the commuter train initiative languish under another study.

“This file needs to be more active and another study is not a signal for go,” said Lincoln. “We cannot get caught in a vice and let it slide and then months go by as a study is simply a postponement and a way of buying time.”

But with the government cutting back on spending in order to reign in the province’s ever growing deficit, the Train de l’ouest co-founder acknowledged that the provincial Liberals “are in a bad spot for funding projects. We are conscious up that the government is up to its eyeballs in requests for money.”

One advantage for the West Island based project is that two of its MNAs hold powerful ministerial portfolios, namely Carlos Leitão, Finance Minister and Martin Coiteux, Minister of the Treasury Board; both rookie politicians who have pledged support for the train project.

“We will meet with them, and Minister Poëti soon and make them conscious of the fact that “we have been waiting a long, long time for this thing and time continues to goes by.

“We have to keep pushing and not pushed back for another year,” said Lincoln who despite the delays, remains optimistic. “I am confident it will go ahead as we have been assured of that from Premier Philippe Couillard and the MTQ.”
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