Record low year for Montreal airport leaves key REM station up in the air

The Trudeau airport is projecting losses of $600 million this year, leading to questions about who will pay for the REM station there.

A little more than a year ago, the international airport’s light-rail train station was launched with much enthusiasm. It was destined to be a key link to downtown.

But with financial losses piling up the airport, now requiring a loan, the airport authority said negotiations with Quebec and Ottawa have been ongoing since June.

The province has no interest in helping out, according to federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau.

“We were disappointed to learn the government of Quebec has withdrawn from the Montreal airport station project after several months of work in collaboration with our government,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Quebec's transport minister said the province has already given more than $1 billion to the REM and said it believes the airport can do more to make the project happen. 

One of Montreal's business leaders says he still has faith the project will happen.

“Clearly the concept of the REM was based on that station and the link to the downtown,” said Michel Leblanc of the Montreal Chamber of Commerce.

“When people ask me 'Are you nervous? Do you think there will be a REM without that station?' I'm saying 'No, I'm not nervous.”

But public transit advocates wonder what this will mean for commuters.

“For the commuters, it could bring more delays in the project. Already there's some delay because of the Mount Royal tunnel,” said Francois Pepin of Trajectoire Quebec.

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