National Sustainable Mobility Strategy: maintenance for public transit is the right priority, but long-term financing remains an issue

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Added on 10 February 2014 in Press releases

Montréal, February 10, 2014 – After the release of the National Sustainable Mobility Strategy, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal applauds the government’s new investments for maintaining the public transit network. However, the Board of Trade is concerned about the government’s reluctance to identify increased, dedicated, indexed and ongoing sources of financing to tackle the twofold challenge of future development of public transit infrastructures and the inevitable increase in operating budgets that follows.

“We are pleased to see that the strategy proposes additional investment to maintain the public transit network,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “We need to put investment for maintaining equipment and infrastructures before new project development. In this sense, today’s announcement is the effort of a responsible government.”

“Furthermore, sustainable mobility must be based on an integrated model of urban transportation, where road transportation still has an important place, in particular for moving merchandise,” Michel Leblanc said. “In this context, rebalancing funding in favour of public transit is one of the measures recommended by the Board of Trade to increase public transit financing. The large budget for public transit remains within the range proposed by the Board of Trade and should provide enough money to keep up the rate of investment needed for maintaining the road network.”

“While we are delighted that maintaining assets is a priority, the strategy announced today still doesn’t answer questions of long-term financing for public transit in Greater Montréal,” Mr. Leblanc said. “As signatories to the Declaration on Sustainable Mobility, we pointed out that annual investments of $1 billion over 10 years would be needed to achieve our objectives. Additional effort is required to take full advantage of a high-calibre, efficient public transit network.”

“This strategy should have been accompanied by a reform in the model of governance for public transit in Greater Montréal,” Michel Leblanc said. “The current piecemeal approach hampers decision making and contributes to a lack of consistency in investment and services to users. The government’s proposal to consult different players about governance merely delays an important decision, since the issues surrounding it have already been debated at length.”

“Traffic congestion in Greater Montréal costs billions of dollars each year, and public transit is an important part of the solution to this problem,” Mr. Leblanc said. “We must not forget that our study on the competitiveness of the city’s business environment stressed that the quality of transportation infrastructures is a key factor in attracting investors. A high-calibre, efficient public transit network, based on systems that move the greatest number of users at the lowest cost, is one of the keys to improving our productivity.”

About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montréal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity, and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.

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Source :
Michelle LLambias Meunier
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4042
mllambias@ccmm.qc.ca

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