Article by Andy Riga in the Gazette suggests that there is no point in building an airport/downtown train that does not also serve residents along the way. No other city does that and considering that the infrastructure money coming from the fed and Quebec will probably be a one shot deal, it might be a good idea to come up with a better solution that intergrates commuter transit for West Islanders.
Airport shuttle not enough: group
If Quebec and Ottawa have $400 million to spend on rail service, it should go to commuter trains for Montrealers, not an airport shuttle for travellers, a new coalition says.
“Ordinary folks who pay the taxes should come first,” said Clifford Lincoln, who is coordinating the new coalition of mayors, business leaders and commuter and environmental groups.
Lincoln, an ex-West Island MNA and MP, said the coalition met for the first time Thursday, the day Mayor Gerald Tremblay came out in support of a $600-million shuttle that would run between Trudeau Airport and downtown’s Central Station. That plan, touted by Aeroports de Montreal, the airport authority, would need $400 million in government money, half each from Ottawa and Quebec.
Aeroports announced its project last month, before a final study into an alternate plan that would also significantly increase service on the Dorion/Rigaud commuter train line was received by a committee studying the plan.
Aeroports says it will go it alone because efforts to come up with a project that would also expand commuter service were proving fruitless.
Ottawa and Quebec have not said which rail project they will finance.
Lincoln noted the airport train would be the only one in North America that goes directly from an airport to downtown, without stops along the way that commuters can use.
“Laval got nice new metro stations and the West Island gets nothing,” he said. “Once that $400 million is spent, you’re whistling Dixie; you won’t get more cash from governments for commuters.”
In a news release yesterday, seven Liberal MNAs from the West End, West Island and cities off the western tip of Montreal Island said they support an airport shuttle, but noted that for their constituents “sustainable, high-quality public transit (is) an absolute priority.”
In an interview, one of those MNAs, Geoff Kelley, said MNAs and mayors have for years demanded better commuter service, now hampered because it shares tracks with freight trains. More commuter trains on dedicated tracks would relieve traffic on Highways 20 and 40 and serve growing off-island communities, he said. It would also ease traffic expected when the Turcot Interchange is rebuilt, he added.
“A shuttle exclusively for the airport doesn’t address these concerns,” Kelley said.
Avrom Shtern of the Green Coalition, an environmental group, said opposition is growing to Aeroports plan.
It makes more sense to combine an airport project with one serving West Island commuters, as well as N.D.G. and its new McGill superhospital next to the Vendome train/ metro station, Shtern said. And, he added, the downtown terminus should be Lucien L’Allier, a route that’s shorter than the one to Central Station, favoured by Aeroports.