I'm starting to fear that Montrealers would have been better off electing separatist candidate Louis Harel than we are with Mayor Tremblay after getting a look at his project to demolish the TURCOT EXCHANGE and replace it with a greener version, one that would reduce traffic capacity and send truckers and motorists into an Al Gore induced version of Hell.
The project is estimated to cost between six and eight billion dollars and of course the Mayor expects someone else to pay for it, this time, the Provincial government.
Of course the PQ, after quickly realizing that the fanciful project was a no go, immediately supported it, hoping to cast the Liberal government in as bad a light as possible.
The elaborate plans were drawn up, as they say in the trade, on "spec," that is, without any specific assurance or commitment that it would be considered by the province. I don't know how many millions were spent on the plans, but Quebec shot down the project within twenty-four hours, which is equivalent to light-speed when it comes to provincial politics.
Less than a day after an elaborate news conference staged by the mayor, the minister in charge of transportation, Julie Boulet, could hardly contain her annoyance and told reporters that a more modest project could be done for less than half price without the years of hellish disruptions that the Mayor's plan called for.
It ain't pretty but it works.
It was an ambitious and futuristic project back in the sixties when elevated roads were sprouting across North America. Forty years later, it is in need of major repairs, due to deteriorating concrete.
300,000 cars and trucks use the exchange every day and the idea of taking it down and replacing it with a granola network of boulevards, tram ways, bus lanes, forest and green spaces, makes one wonder if the good mayor has been put under a spell by dingbat conspiracy theorist advisor Richard Bergeron, who may very well be the nuttiest person to ever wield power at City Hall..
It seems that the good mayor has developed somewhat of a man-crush on his erstwhile political adversary, who now seems to be running the executive council, much to the chagrin of Mayor Tremblay's own party members, who see it as a perversion of the political process. Mr. Bergeron ran for mayor against Mr. Tremblay in the last municipal election and placed third, behind Tremblay and runner-up Louise Harel. The mayor, in an effort to demonstrate his inclusiveness, shocked members of his own party by naming Bergeron to his executive council.
Alas, I think our good mayor has gone off the deep end. Those watching city hall are concerned that his growing infatuation with Bergeron is a dangerous flight of fancy.
Concerning the redevelopment of the Turcot, I would ask Torontonians to imagine the city removing the DVP or New Yorkers, the FDR or the BQE and replacing them with an urban boulevard, complete with trolleys and gardens, a project that could handle less than half the volume of traffic. Ugh!....
On LCN, a French news channel a viewer commented that she didn't see why someone from Quebec City should pay for a fancy road in Montreal.
It's an interesting point of view, hitherto unheard of in Quebec, the idea that those who don't benefit shouldn't be asked to pay. Touché!
Mayor Tremblay should realize that if he wants his pie-in-the-sky project to go forward, he'd better look to get his money elsewhere.
An increased real estate tax? Tolls on bridges? Higher user fees? No. No.. No......
Perhaps he can put the touch to Alberta for a handout, after all, they already have too much money and don't know what to do with it.
Another six billion dollar transfer to Quebec makes sense, because it's good for national unity and because...err...eerrr....errrr.. we're worth it!!!