NEWS
03/18/2016 18:07 EDT | Updated 03/19/2017 01:12 EDT

Quebec counting on federal budget to include Metro Blue Line extension

Montrealers may be closer than ever to riding the Metro into the east end.

The proposed extension of the Blue Line got a mention in Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao's budget speech on Thursday.  

There was no promise of new provincial money, however, Leitao named the project as one of two key public transit infrastructure projects that the federal government is committed to help pay for.

Leitao called the Blue Line extension, along with rapid transit buses for the greater Quebec City area, "critical to sustainable mobility" and a sign the government attaches great importance "to the needs of municipalities."

Public transit 'a federal priority'

The MP for Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel, Nicola Di lorio, is optimistic there will be money for the extension in Tuesday's federal budget.

Di lorio said climate-change reduction and public transit are priorities for Justin Trudeau's Liberal government.

But as the budget documents are top secret, he said he can't say for certain financing for the Blue Line will be included in the economic plan to be tabled by federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

Di Iorio's optimism comes from the fact that the City of Montreal, Quebec and the federal government in Ottawa all agree that extending the Blue Line is a priority.

How locals are reacting

Dominic Perri, a Saint-Léonard's city councillor for more than 30 years, says the extension of the Blue Line would boost the local economy and help revitalize the area.   

Past promises

- In 2013, when the STM and the provincial government last announced they would extend the Blue Line into the east end, it was expected to cost $250 to 300 million per kilometre.

- In 2009, former Quebec premier Jean Charest proposed extending the Blue Line to Saint-Léonard and Anjou.

Some residents, like Lorenzo Ciavattella, are skeptical that the Blue Line will ever make it east of St-Michel Boulevard.

He told CBC News he's been waiting since the 1970s for the promised Metro extension to materialize.