CAA-Quebec says 'yes' to the Transportation Plan, but it will be costly, so... priorities required!



    QUEBEC, Aug. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - In its brief submitted to the City of
Montreal as part of public consultations on the city's new Transportation
Plan, CAA-Quebec supports the spirit of the document. But it also has
reservations, based primarily on the results of a survey it conducted with a
sampling of its approximately 440,000 members living on the Island of Montreal
and in communities on its northern and southern perimeters (commonly called
the couronne nord and couronne sud).

    General comments ...

    "It's a very green, very integrated plan, but once again, the automobile
is fingered as the culprit and, in our opinion, too much focus is placed on
punitive measures in an attempt to change behaviour," says Sophie Gagnon,
CAA-Quebec's Director, Public and Government Relations, "What's more, the plan
does not include the communities on the northern or southern perimeters of the
Island of Montreal, which are nevertheless very affected by this issue.
Finally, faced with a plan of this size, it is unclear where we should begin,
although the financial implications are enormous and nothing has been fully
determined in that respect."
    "We therefore propose that the City adopt a step-by-step approach,
particularly given the enormous amounts of money involved," Ms. Gagnon
concludes. "That is why we are first suggesting that priority be given to
upgrading existing infrastructures and maximizing the financial outlay of the
federal and provincial governments." The brief offers other recommendations
regarding the management of funds earmarked for roadwork, the funding
transparency that governments must demonstrate, the possible pertinence of
public-private partnerships, the importance of favouring incentives over
punitive measures and an assessment of the effectiveness of carpooling.

    ...but also - and especially - its members' opinions

    Members say 'yes to' ... - The survey conducted by CAA-Quebec shows that
members support expansion of the Metro, as well as the idea of eventually
making its development toward the east dependent on the impact of the future
suburban train, which has already been approved by the Government of Quebec.
Members also say they are open to carpooling, creating free commuter parking
lots, making the downtown area more pedestrian-friendly, as well as
prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving.
    Members say 'go carefully with regard to' ... - No doubt shaken by cost
overruns for construction of the Metro extension to Laval, members express
some reservations regarding the importance of respecting the financial aspects
of the Metro expansion proposal. They also have reservations about the tramway
proposal (a new form of transportation to be developed, built and maintained),
the monorail between downtown and Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau airport (limited
interest in this service), as well as reduction of the speed limit from 50 to
40 km/h on local streets (seen as an ineffective initiative). Encouraged to
comment on the importance of certain construction projects, the respondents
indicated that the most important priority for them was to upgrade current
infrastructures rather than build new ones.
    Members say 'no to' ... - Members are opposed to certain aspects of the
plan, particularly those related to financing it, such as introduction of
tolls on bridges and on the island's highway network (a majority of
respondents would not increase their use of public transport even if tolls
were in place). They are also against other funding approaches such as
increases in licensing fees and a gasoline tax.
    CAA-Quebec's brief and its summary can be consulted on the organization's
website, www.caaquebec.com, About Us section, Speaking Out/Briefs. The
complete version of the brief is available in French.

    A not-for-profit organization, CAA-Quebec provides several automotive,
travel, residential and financial services and benefits to its approximately
900,000 members, including 440,000 in the Montreal region alone.




For further information:

For further information: Montreal: Claudia Martin, (514) 861-7171, ext.
3210; Quebec: Philippe Saint-Pierre, (418) 624-2424, ext. 2418; Note to media
- An English summary of the brief submitted by CAA-Quebec, including all the
recommendations contained in the document, can be consulted on the
organization's website: www.caaquebec.com

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CAA-Quebec

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