Local political reaction to Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge plans


THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK

The Ministry of Transport’s March 6 announcement saying there were no immediate plans to include a rail corridor on the new Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge has elicited mixed reactions from local politicians. While Junior Transport Minister Chantal Rouleau said the new bridge would potentially accommodate light rail technology at some point in the future, it is not currently part of the plan.

Liberal Vaudreuil MNA Marie-Claude Nichols issued a joint communiqué with Gregory Kelley, MNA for Jacques-Cartier in the West Island denouncing the decision by the CAQ government, saying it, “…cast aside the interests and concerns of their fellow citizens by choosing not to provide for the extension of the Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) line to Vaudreuil-Dorion.” The communiqué also states the CAQ is the same party that created confusion with its last-minute questioning of the site of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges hospital project that had been agreed upon after more than a decade of studies, consultations, and land expropriation.

“‘At the very beginning of the current mandate, I wrote to the Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, to inform him of my riding’s needs with regard to the Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge,” wrote Nichols. “I was particularly clear about the need for a reserved lane for the REM on the bridge. Yet again, we are disappointed to learn that the needs of our fellow citizens are not going to be taken into account.”

“It is critical to develop a concrete public transit strategy to fight climate change and ensure that transit users can move around in a manner that is convenient for them,” said MNA Kelley. “This government has once again failed to think clearly about what is necessary and to demonstrate a vision for future policy-making.”

The Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC’s reaction was more optimistic, appearing to focus on Minister Rouleau’s statement implying that the advancements in future technology may still leave the door open for a commuter rail system.

"We are pleased with this announcement and look forward to following this important issue for the quality of life of our population of over 150,000, knowing that more than 40,000 residents of the region are traveling out of the territory to go to work,” said MRC Prefect Patrick Bousez.

The 23 Off-Island mayors of the council of the MRC had adopted a resolution February 20 asking the government to include the REM into the plans of the future bridge.

The bridge accommodates roughly 83,000 cars daily. The replacement structure is expected to be completed by 2030.

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