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Cities criticize Quebec for its 'radio silence' on public transport

Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir Since their release last Thursday, Valérie Plante, Catherine Fournier and Stéphane Boyer, respectively mayors of Montreal, Longueuil and Laval, affirm that they have had no communication from the government. We see them here Thursday with Lise Michaud, the mayor of Mercier (left).

While they must very soon submit the budgets of their cities, the mayors of the Metropolitan Community of Montreal (CMM) say they are increasingly worried about the financing of the deficits of transport companies. They maintain that discussions have stalled with Quebec, which has not submitted any new offers.

The rag continues to burn between the mayors and the Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, Geneviève Guilbault. Since their release last Thursday, Valérie Plante, Stéphane Boyer and Catherine Fournier claim that they have had no communication from the government.

“It’s radio silence from the government of Quebec and the Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility,” said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante. “No counter-offer, no telephone, no conversation, neither with the CMM, nor with the ARTM [Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority]. We are extremely worried. »

However, time is running out because cities must finalize their budgets in the coming weeks. “It puts us against the wall because cities cannot run a deficit,” argued the mayor of Longueuil, Catherine Fournier. “The income and expenditure columns must balance. We do not know what our income will be until we have the government response. […] It lacks seriousness and it lacks rigor. »

Two weeks ago, Quebec announced that it would only assume 20% of the transport companies' projected deficits of $2.5 billion over five years. The mayors responded by asking that Quebec pay a 75% share of the bill for 2024, failing which they would have to consider cuts.

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  • Threat of massive cuts to public transportation in the Montreal region
  • Valérie Plante considers Quebec's offer for public transport “unacceptable”

Several scenarios were mentioned, including the closure of the metro after 11 p.m. and the reduction in the number of buses in the all the cities in the metropolitan region.

Last Friday, Minister Guilbault indicated that she was preparing to submit a new offer to the cities. However, according to the mayors, this has not materialized.

“We are not playing on equal terms today,” believes the mayor of Laval, Stéphane Boyer. “We are David against Goliath and Goliath says to David: “Take the burden of all these files”. This is why today we say to ourselves that enough is enough. We cannot continue in this direction. Whether on public transportation or other issues, Quebec must be there. »

In Minister Guilbault's office, it is maintained that the various cabinets “are in constant discussion.”

Other details will follow.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116