Montreal’s REM light rail lands $1bn federal backing

The CDPQ-sponsored transit project will span 67km and comes with a $4.6bn total price tag.

Financing for a CDPQ-sponsored light rail project in Montreal is complete after the federal Canadian government committed C$1.28 billion ($960 million; €860 million) to the landmark development.

The Government of Canada agreed to take a 24.5 percent equity stake in the C$6.04 billion Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) project that is planned to connect Montreal’s downtown to Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and its north and south shores. CDPQ is REM’s lead investor with a 51 percent, C$2.67 billion stake. The province of Quebec is providing C$1.24 billion, and Hydro Quebec has committed C$295 million.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement the federal government’s commitment is from its 12-year, C$180 billion Investing in Canada infrastructure plan. He added that Quebec’s government can apply for funding through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, when it launches, rather than using its transit allocation.

The project will span 67km with 27 stations, making it the fourth largest automated transportation system in the world by distance.

“The REM is one of the most ambitious public transportation projects in our history. In addition to making it quicker and easier for millions of Quebec residents to get around, the REM will reduce the number of cars on the roads, help ease traffic and make the air cleaner,” Trudeau stated.

In a separate deal on Thursday, CDPQ, one of Canada’s largest pension managers with C$270.7 billion in assets, helped raise $80 million in financing for a Montreal-based data centre company. CDPQ and Canderal, a Canadian real estate investment firm, helped close an initial round of fundraising for eStruxture Data Centers.