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Réseau Express Métropolitain: Profit over Commuters?
A new way of commuting is opening for Montrealers this spring. The réseau express métropolitain (REM) is an automatic light rail system that will provide a fast way for Montrealers to travel on and off the island. This project is not owned completely by the government, with instead 75% of the project being owned by a private equity firm. Local 514 looks into concerns some have with this project being partially privately-owned and not nationalized.
The caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), who partially owns the REM, did not provide a response to Local 514 before the publication of this video.
The REM has been experiencing multiple delays. Alongside major delays, is a heftier price tag. In 2021, it was announced the REM would cost at least $350 million more than expected, with the Caisse paying for this hefty new price tag. But some think delayed construction occurring at a time of inflation will inflate the price.
Pierre-Guy Sylvestre, an economist at the Canadian Union of Public Employees told Local 514 that the continued construction as a result of delays will be more expensive than projected, as a result of inflation affecting the price of construction materials.
Big investments means big returns – and that’s not just for the transit system. The CDPQ owns multiple properties near the REM and has been buying up land close to REM stations. The prices of these properties are projected to soar in profits as the station completes in 2025, generating more revenue for the CDPQ.
Do you think the REM will be good for commuters and Montreal’s transit system? Or do you think private interests are plaguing the project and pose a threat to the future transit and housing in Montreal?
Let us know in the comments.
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