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Provincial budget | Montreal challenges Quebec on housing and transportation



In anticipation of the next provincial budget, which will be tabled on March 21, the City of Montreal is asking for help from Quebec to try to stem the two major crises it is facing: the affordable housing crisis and the public transit funding crisis. .

“Rather than making a long grocery list, we focus on our two priorities,” explained the president of the Montreal executive committee, Dominique Ollivier, in an interview.

In all, the demands of the metropolis total more than 400 million dollars.

To accelerate the construction of social housing, the administration of Mayor Valérie Plante is proposing to the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, to transfer to him the responsibility for developing the 1,098 units of the AccèsLogis program which are still awaiting financing, but ready to be built. This transfer should be accompanied by additional funding of $314.5 million, in addition to the transfer of the basic subsidy already provided for in the program, namely $69.5 million, the City is asking.

Montreal needs 2,000 new housing units per year to meet the needs of the population, and 40% of these units must be social or affordable housing, recalls Olivier.

The government of Quebec recently announced the end of the AccèsLogis program, which allowed the construction of social housing, which sparked a lot of criticism.

“We can’t stop building social housing”, insists the president of the executive committee, who recalls that her administration invested a record sum of 600 million in housing during its last budget.

When we see the increase in homelessness in Montreal, we absolutely need a lasting solution.

Dominique Ollivier, President of the Montreal Executive Committee

“Currently, many projects are just waiting for the necessary funding to see the light of day. Hundreds of households could thus find accommodation in the territory if there were available accommodation in line with their ability to pay. »

“The offer must be there”

For the Société de transport de Montréal, hard hit by the pandemic, the City is asking for 90 million over two years, stressing that the organization has made efforts to rationalize 18 million to cope with the drop in its revenues.

“Cities and users cannot bear the burden of adequate funding for public transit alone. The offer must be there so that there can be a modal transfer, since it is one of the ways of reducing greenhouse gases”, notes Dominique Ollivier.

Quebec has the necessary leeway to grant tax cuts to taxpayers, due to the increase in its income resulting from inflation, observes the president of the executive committee. “But since the poverty rate is higher in Montreal, many people will not benefit from these tax cuts,” she adds, saying she is sure that the Minister of Finance “understands the reality of the metropolis”.

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