bullet train The pressure on Ottawa is mounting even

bullet train | The pressure on Ottawa is mounting even more

The pressure on Ottawa continues to mount in the High Frequency Railway (TGF) file. For his part, Laval Mayor Stéphane Boyer, who met with representatives of VIA Rail on Tuesday, supports a high-speed train (TGV) project as long as it doesn’t “deface neighborhoods”. In Quebec, too, the transport minister “prefers” a TGV.

Posted at 7:31 p.m


“It is certain that we have long distances in Canada, so the faster the better it will be. But one of the questions that may arise later is at what price. If we can get a TGV to Toronto but it costs twice as much as a plane ticket, will it really work? “, explained the municipal representative in an interview with La Presse shortly after his meeting.

He argues that the debate is also one of conspiracy. “A TGV would inevitably travel in a straight line, which could mean large expropriations and thus disfigure neighborhoods,” continues Mr. Boyer. “As a citizen, I’m tempted to hear about a TGV, but after that we’ll have to see if it’s realistic,” he insists, saying his priority is “the impact on the configuration of our cities.”

Regardless of whether it is a TGF or a TGV, this future train network must pass through Laval, emphasizes the mayor. “We know that the solutions chosen can vary, so nothing is set in stone yet. Laval is the third largest city in Quebec with strong growth. We cannot rule it out. »

In the office of Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault, we walk in the same direction. “Between a TGF and a TGV, it is clear that we prefer a TGV. We think it’s a great project that Ottawa could fund,” his spokesman Louis-Julien Dufresne said Tuesday. Recently Prime Minister François Legault also spoke of the TGV as a “great project, provided it is heavily funded by the federal government”.

At the end of January, the Mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, also launched a plea for a high-speed train. In Montreal, the Plante administration believes that the TGV “deserves to be examined”. Also, a motion will be tabled by elected officials Craig Sauvé and Serge Sasseville at the next city council on February 20, asking the city of Ottawa to opt for a TGV on the Quebec City-Toronto corridor.

A “big project,” Ottawa insists

The office of Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra states that the TGF will be “the largest infrastructure project Canada has ever seen”. “It will have its own tracks and will no longer have to share them with freight trains. That will reduce delays,” argues the Minister’s Communications Director, Valérie Glazer, adding that the TGF’s speed of 200 km/h already far exceeds the performance of current trains.

Last fall, after soliciting comments from the private sector, Ottawa changed a project criterion: It now requires the TGF to travel at more than 200 km/h on certain sections of the route and is asking companies to submit proposals in this direction.

According to our information, companies can submit a qualification application within about a month, after which proposals could be submitted to the government from next summer. At this point, real progress could be announced and the choice of system confirmed.

“We are open to investigating projects that propose increasing speeds in certain segments to over 200 kilometers per hour if it makes economic sense,” Ms Glazer said Tuesday.