Montreal Launches $6.3 Billion Light Rail Transit Infrastructure Project

Montreal has officially launched a $6.3 billion infrastructure project to build a light rail transit system that will connect the city with its suburban regions and international airport and open in 2021.

SNC-Lavalin is the engineering firm that has been awarded the contract to lead the building of the light rail transit infrastructure and furnish the required trains. The transit project will now cost $6.3 billion — $300 million more than the original estimate — and is expected to be ready by the summer of 2021, instead of 2020. It is being billed as the largest public transportation project in the Montreal area in the last 50 years.

The Caisse de Depot pension fund, through subsidiary CDPQ Infra, will provide $2.95 billion in financing for the project and will assume the extra costs. Governments in Quebec City and Ottawa will chip in $1.28 billion each, while Hydro-Quebec will add $295 million and the regional transit agency an additional $512 million.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard described the project as one of the largest public undertakings in the province since the James Bay hydroelectric project was built in 1971.

“We have come back to the era of major projects in Quebec,” he said at a Friday news conference.

Premier Couillard also struck a reassuring tone for Bombardier Transport, based in La Pocatière, Quebec, which lost out on the engineering construction contract to SNC Lavalin.

“There will be (subway) expansions; there may be new lines of different colours,” he said. “There is a lot of work awaiting the people of Bombardier.”

Sabia announced that a consortium of SNC-Lavalin, Dragados, Aecon, Pomerleau and EBC will be responsible for engineering, procurement and construction of the Montreal light rail transit system, while Alstom and SNC-Lavalin will provide the needed rail cars.