The Quebec government said the province will be withdrawing funding for the REM station at Montreal’s Trudeau Airport. The news came at a time when the ADM (Aeroports de Montreal) was already struggling with an expected financial loss of $600 million, due to a 97% reduction in passenger traffic since the pandemic began in early spring.
Florence Plourde, a spokesperson for François Bonnardel, the CAQ’s Transport Minister, said in an email to Global News ‘the government has already invested $1.28 billion in the REM, not including $192 million for the implementation of mitigation measures, while Hydro-Quebec has also contributed $295 million… at this stage, we believe that efforts can still be made by the Montreal airport, which falls under the purview of the federal government and not of the Quebec government, in the search for a solution for the financing of this project’ according to the report. Amy Butcher, a spokesperson for Marc Garneau, Canada’s Federal Transport Minister, also stated in an email, ‘We were disappointed to learn that the government of Quebec has withdrawn from the Montreal airport station project after several months of work in collaboration with our government… it is imperative that a solution be found given the importance of the airport station for this entire public transit project, a project that will improve mobility for citizens and visitors to the Greater Montreal area for generations to come’. The Canadian government has also invested $1.28 billion in the REM project.
As well, Anne-Sophie Hamel, a spokesperson for the ADM said they would not be commenting yet, as ‘the information has not yet been confirmed officially (by the Quebec government) with whom we have been negotiating for more than five months’ and despite the setback the ‘ADM remained confident it would find the financial backing it needs in order to meet its obligations towards the REM project’. They have been in negotiations with both the Federal and Provincial governments to secure a loan, crucial to the REM project since the financial losses incurred since last March.
Premier Francois Legault said during a November 19th news conference, that ‘having a train station at the airport was critical, but it wasn’t the provincial government’s responsibility to pay for it and that it has to be paid by the owner – the actual owner, ADM, or the preceding owner which was the federal government’.