Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press The Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, Geneviève Guilbault, during her announcement last Friday
Quebec does not intend to increase the offer submitted Friday by the Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, Geneviève Guilbault, concerning the collective transport file. The minister's office reiterated Monday that the government would stick to its proposal to pay $265 million to cover the deficit of transportation companies for 2024.
Friday, Minister Guilbault unveiled the government's “final” offer, which consisted of financing 70% of the deficit of transport companies for 2024. The mayors of the 82 cities of the Metropolitan Community of Montreal (CMM), who are contesting the calculation of the deficit, demanded Monday morning from Prime Minister François Legault a meeting as soon as possible “in order to discuss and agree on a fair financial agreement”. According to the cities, the revised deficit of transport companies in the Montreal region is 461.3 million, while Quebec considers it lower. They are asking that Quebec assume 75% of this deficit, which would require the government to make an additional contribution of 128 million, underline the 82 mayors in a letter sent to the Prime Minister.
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The municipalities are also of the opinion that the revenue from the registration tax – whose extended application to the entire CMM was ratified in 2019 -, estimated at 122 million, should be devoted to the development of public transport and not used in calculating the deficit.
The mayors underline that in 2023, the cities of the CMM have devoted 930 million to public transport, and that they intend to increase these shares to 4% in 2024. “We are addressing you today since we are extremely concerned about the situation we are facing,” they wrote to the Prime Minister in their missive. “Without sufficient financial assistance, OPTCs [public transit organizations] will be forced to significantly reduce the service offering, which will inevitably have a direct impact on the daily lives of many people, including a significant number of essential workers , in addition to increasing road congestion. »
Remember that transport companies have developed several cutback scenarios, such as closing the metro at 11 p.m. and reducing the number of buses, which they could implement if aid were insufficient.
But Minister Guilbault does not intend to review her position. “This offer is final. This is $265 million that we are granting, in addition to everything we are already investing in public transportation, the minister's office indicated on Monday. At the same time, we will work, in collaboration with cities and transport companies, to optimize these investments to offer Quebecers better public transport services, throughout Quebec. »