AMT spokesperson said study must be studied by committee
© Marc Lalonde
The Train de l'Ouest coalition of local mayors walks into the National Assembly in Quebec City last April. The future of the Train de l'Ouest project rests on how a 13-member committee interprets the results of a feasibility study on having trains run to and from downtown at regular intervals from morning to night. Train del'ouest committee co-chair Clifford Lincoln says he is confident the AMT will move forward with the project. Shelving the project at this point would be "unacceptable," he said.
:Former Lac St. Louis MP and Nelligan MNA Clifford Lincoln said any delays in the release of an Agence Metropolitain de Transport (AMT) feasibility study on the Train de l'Ouest project will be for one of two reasons – one of which is acceptable to the Train de l'Ouest coalition and one which is decidedly not, he said.
"There are two possible scenarios. We knew there would be a period of evaluation by the AMT and its partners, which is an acceptable scenario. On the other hand," he said, "if there is really a delay in the study because the reason is the study is being put on the shelf, that is a scenario we wouldn't accept. The time has come to move forward on this project," he said.
AMT spokesperson Brigitte Leonard said "there is no delay," in producing the report, which "will be delivered in the next few weeks," and subsequently presented to an ad-hoc committee of 13 partners, including the city of Montreal and a representative of the 13 cities potentially affected by the project. The study will not be made public immediately, Leonard said.
"There are still some things to iron out, but the committee will review the report and make a recommendation," she said.
Dorval mayor Edgar Rouleau said he hasn't yet seen the report and is eager to get a hold of it – as soon as possible
"I'm anxious to get that report to see what their suggestions are," said Rouleau, who added Dorval is hoping to see an intermodal station added to the potential train line.
"All the cities have said their piece, and that's something we feel is badly needed," he said.
Even though Leonard said there has been no delay in delivering the report, Lincoln and the rest of the Train de l'Ouest coalition were expecting the feasibility study before the end of 2012 – but that "plus or minus a few days," it has arrived more or less on time.
New AMT head Nicolas Girard – who, when he was the PQ's transport critic, also signed off on the project – is a "straight shooter," who, Lincoln said, assured him the study was on track.
The former lawmaker said Girard has earned the benefit of the doubt in his eyes – and said Girard assured him the report would be carefully analyzed by the committee.
"I have to accept it in good faith. I have no reason to doubt his word," the Ste. Anne resident said.
Rumblings about a dedicated airport shuttle running alongside Train de l'Ouest trains are patently false, Lincoln added.
When asked for comment on the story, Aeroports de Montreal spokesperson Dominique Lambert sent The Chronicle a copy of ADM CEO James Cherry's speech from May 2012, where he calls for two separate trains on one line, "a common public-transit infrastructure
between Dorval and downtown and two separate services: airport express and metropolitan."
ADM vice-president of public affairs and communications Christiane Beaulieu confirmed that the airport's vision of the project would have the two services sharing one line, with the airport's shuttle going between the aiport and downtown and with the public-transit line continuing on to the Fairview Pointe Claire shopping centre.
"I was told that there was no room for two projects, and I was also told the airport is still pushing for their own shuttle," he said.