(Vienne) Quebec and Ottawa do not find it very “glamorous” to invest in existing metro infrastructure, but Monday’s event should serve as a wake-up call, argued the mayoress of Montreal on Tuesday in an interview with La Press.

Valérie Plante, who is in Europe for the week, called on senior governments to do more to prevent the Montreal subway from following the path of the crumbling New York subway.

“At the time, I was very surprised and above all worried,” she said on Tuesday. “We were worried until this [Tuesday] morning. We had a meeting with the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) at 5 a.m. precisely to see the latest news and the state of the situation. The STM was able to guarantee user safety and reopen the metro in time for rush hour. »

A crack in a concrete vault revealed by a water leak had caused the emergency closure of a large section of the green line the day before. After a dozen hours of expertise and work, the STM estimated that “the integrity of the vault is not in question”.

“We don’t wake up today thinking that we have to take care of the subway,” she argued. It’s a message that we convey, but it’s not a message that necessarily has a lot of resonance within the other [orders of government], because it’s less glamorous, it’s less interesting to s take care of asset maintenance. And so the existing programs are often not very generous. »

“That being said, we have a great collaboration with the Minister [of Transport Geneviève] Guilbault. We feel that the ear is open, we feel an opening and for us, it is very positive, added the mayor. I had a lot of discussions on maintaining assets, on public transit, to bring the minister up to speed, which is completely normal when you take on a new portfolio. »

In February, the STM pleaded with the Quebec government – ​​while it was preparing its budget – in favor of increased investments for the maintenance of public transport assets.

“The reduction in the amounts provided for asset maintenance in the Quebec Infrastructure Plan (from $3.8 billion in 2018 to $2.6 billion in 2022) is a source of concern while the needs remain immense,” indicated the organization in a letter to the Minister of Finance. “Major STM asset maintenance projects must currently be postponed due to lack of availability of the necessary funds. »

The Government of Quebec should not be the only one to carry out this task, added Valérie Plante.

“The federal government also has to adapt its programs, which are not generous enough: they almost systematically refuse to provide asset maintenance funding, and that’s a problem. Toronto is experiencing the same problem. When I was talking with Mayor [John] Tory, he was saying the same thing, Vancouver is the same thing,” she said.

Valérie Plante was in Vienna on Tuesday evening, the second leg of a short week-long European tour.

She stopped in London on Monday, where she met Mayor Sadiq Khan, as well as other city officials committed to fighting climate change, in addition to giving an interview to The Economist.

Ms Plante took advantage of her presence in the British capital to see firsthand the operation of its “very low emissions” zone, which has considerably reduced the presence of vehicles in the city centre. Montreal has promised to establish a similar zone by 2030.

“Certainly talking and seeing the ultra-low emission zone in central London, it gave us a lot of guidance on some things to assess, because it’s a project that we want, a- she said. You really have to take the time to properly assess certain elements, work with the partners. The whole question of the electrification of means of transport, charging stations, all of this must be on point for it to work. »

Ms Plante says she was particularly inspired by the London method: start with a small area in the heart of the city and then expand it gradually. “It’s interesting to see a progressive strategy,” she said.

On Wednesday, Valérie Plante is scheduled to meet with the mayor of Vienne and will visit an affordable housing project with Quebec housing representatives.