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Mayor wants answers on city issues


The Gazette

Published: 6 hours ago


Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay has written a letter to Jean Charest to find out where the Liberal leader stands on issues that are important to Montreal.


Tremblay said he would like Charest to outline his government's plan for the city. He said improving the economy of Montreal will yield economic spinoffs in the rest of the province as well.


In the letter, dated Nov. 12, Tremblay said he is anxious to hear Charest's proposals on how to "give Montreal the tools to properly assume its role as the economic motor of the province."


Tremblay outlined several key areas his administration is working on that need government support:


- A 20-year $8.1-billion transportation plan, which outlines major projects to renovate roads, improve public transit, and add bicycle paths. He said Charest needs to commit major public funds to help this project along.


- Tremblay said the province must work to accelerate several infrastructure projects that have been stalled for many years, including the modernization of Notre Dame St. in Montreal's east end, the English and French superhospitals, and the revitalization of the harbourfront, which includes moving the Bonaventure Expressway away from the shoreline.


- Tremblay also asked Charest to invest in urban renewal projects and to commit money for new social housing units.


- He asked the province to help finance a new waste management plan, and to invest in the city's universities, research centres and museums.


Tremblay also said Charest needs to work with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to free up Montreal's share of an $8.8 billion infrastructure program pledged in the federal government's 2007 budget.


The funds have not yet been passed on to Canadian cities because of a complex application process for project approval and other delays in negotiations between the federal and provincial governments.


Tremblay said it's imperative Montreal get access to that money now, to offset the effects of an economic downturn.


He added Quebec also needs to change some of the rules governing cities to to give them access to new sources of revenue.


Tremblay has been asking for a share of the Quebec sales tax or the ability to implement an entertainment tax on the island of Montreal.


His administration has also mulled the idea of imposing tolls to drivers coming onto the island of Montreal.


The city would need the permission of the Quebec government before imposing a new tax.

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