Viewpoint : February 2014

Too little for active transportation

Yesterday, Transport Minister Sylvain Gaudreault launched the National Sustainable Mobility Strategy. This plan is interesting in several respects, notably the importance given to public transit. It is reassuring to see the government providing Québec with a vision of 21st century transportation that focuses on the mobility of people, rather than vehicles. It is high time that we stop pitting cars against public transit or bikes. Cyclists have just as many rights as motorists.

As part of this strategy, the minister is proposing to invest $35 million in active transportation by 2020. That’s good, but it’s not enough. This amount is actually lower than that invested by the government between 2007 and 2012. This means that between now and 2020, less money will be slated for the promotion of active transportation and new cycling infrastructures.

All of this is surprising given the growing enthusiasm of municipalities for active transportation. In fact, it is unfortunate that this strategy misses the opportunity to capitalize on this sustained interest.  In today’s difficult budgetary context, we would have hoped that the government would recognize the excellent cost-benefit ratio for active transportation infrastructures and devote substantial funds to the latter.

Another announcement is expected shortly, this time by the Minister of Sustainable Development. Let’s hope that the government plans to increase the funds proposed.

Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO
Vélo Québec