The Government in Quebec has agreed to pledge 60 percent of the $2.1 billion needed to create a 26-kilometer, above-ground, light railway network in Gatineau by 2028.
The preliminary plans for the project, which are to be released by the city today, will launch a process that officials hope will “bring electric, above-ground light rail by 2028.” The city called for a “reliable, efficient, environmentally friendly link between the fast-growing west end and Plateau areas and the jobs in Ottawa-Gatineau's core.”
Plans for the railway include a line to cross the Ottawa River over the Alexandra Bridge, connecting with Ottawa's Confederation Line at the future Rideau station, and a line that will connect the Aylmer and Plateau sectors to its downtown.
According to CBC News, another line would do a near-loop through Gatineau's Plateau neighbourhood, starting at Alexandre-Taché and boulevard Saint-Raymond, then following boulevard du Plateau and chemin Vanier to des Allumetières, passing through 12 stations.
Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin of Gatineau used Facebook to confirm that he had met with Premier François Legault and had secured the necessary funding for the city’s new rail project. While this is a considerable victory for the Mayor, the hard work isn't done yet. The next challenge will be to garner support from the federal government for the project.
Speaking to Radio Canada, the Mayor said “The next step is to convince the federal government … and that's a big battle, but I think it's essential that they're part of this project." The degree of backing that the government will offer to the project remains unknown given the uncertainty around this fall's election.
Despite this uncertainty, Major Pedneaud-Jobin believes that one thing is for sure. Without these investments into Gatineau’s public transport, workers in the city will be facing a bleak future. He said "Within 10 years, we're either going to be stuck in traffic because of cars or because of buses. I think that reality is going to help us a lot to convince the federal government … whatever party is elected in the fall."
The city will now take approximately two years to study and rectify the ambitious plans. They intend to have a concrete design in place by March 2020. The project is expected to be completed and active by 2028.