This morning, the Couillard government announced their intention to amend the act respecting the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec in order to allow the Caisse to finance light trains for the new Champlain Bridge and for the West Island of Montreal.
In fact, the allocation of the infrastructure projects file to the Caisse, an institution whose ultimate goal is to generate the greatest possible profit for its investors, including those of the pension fund, could be interpreted as a first step toward privatizing our public transportation.
We must review the proportion of transportation subsidies granted to public transit versus those granted to the development of the road network. With the announcement of this bill, we should ask ourselves whether the government is trying to make a profit on public transit infrastructure when almost all the costs associated with the use of a private vehicle are billed to taxpayers, even though this contributes to the acceleration of climate change.
Today, there are very few tolls on Quebec highways and bridges. However, tolls are present in all buses and metro stations on the island of Montreal.
If the government requires the Caisse de dépôt to make a profit on public transit projects, users can expect more expensive tolls than if we had a 100% publicly funded, non-profit system. It should be remembered that STM fares have increased at a rate higher than inflation for the umpteenth time this year.
The best way to fight climate change is to subsidize public transit.
It should be remembered that the realization of the western train was promised to residents on numerous occasions by the Liberal members of Parliament from the West Island during the election campaigns. The same goes for the Champlain Bridge light rail system, which has been under study since the 1980s.
Leader of the Green Party of Quebec