TRANSPORTATION AND SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY
The Green Party of Quebec supports the rapid shift of our society towards urban and interurban public transportation. Our goal is to reduce emissions in the transportation sector by 50% by 2030 and to lower traffic congestion by 90% in the urban regions of Quebec over the same period. In order to achieve this, we propose a range of solutions, financial incentives and tools to change our habits, develop the network of urban and interurban transportation to make it affordable and accessible for everyone.
RAPID, EFFICIENT AND FREE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
The Green Party of Quebec proposes making public transportation faster, more comfortable, more efficient and more affordable than private automobiles. To reach this goal, we propose a massive expansion of the network combined with free service. Free service will be an important incentive in raising the number of users. Increased use of public transportation will allow public transportation providers to raise the frequency of service and thereby raise its rapidity and efficiency.
This transition to public transportation will benefit all Quebeckers, who will be able to breathe clean air, waste less time in traffic jams, save money related to purchasing and maintaining a vehicle, while at the same time doing their part in the fight against climate change.
This societal shift will be financed in large part by a carbon tax applied to gasoline consumption, as well as through measures to discourage gas guzzling vehicles.
REVOLUTIONIZING ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION IN QUEBEC
The Green Party of Quebec proposes an investment of $250 million per year in the development of infrastructures for cyclists and pedestrians throughout Quebec in order to encourage active transportation, to raise the safety level of users and to improve the health of the population. This means building new bicycle paths, adapting urban landscapes and offering subsidies for the purchase of sports equipment.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NETWORK OF HIGH SPEED TRAINS
With regards to intercity transportation between Quebec's cities, the Green Party of Quebec supports the project of high speed trains proposed by VIA Rail, along with a few additional features. We propose to connect Gatineau, Laval, Montreal, Trois-Rivières, Quebec City, Saguenay, Matane, Gaspé, Sherbrooke and Drummondville to this network. The project will be public, use entirely renewable electricity and will offer affordable service, making it an attractive alternative to using a private automobile.
This major project will allow Quebeckers and tourists to move quickly around the province without emitting GHGs and will contribute to regional economic development while offering a safe means of transportation at a low price.
The Green Party seeks to encourage car-sharing services and reduce the number of vehicles on the road by offering alternatives to owning private vehicles. The current regulations are obsolete and do little to encourage the development of alternatives to the automobile. The PVQ relies on the report prepared by Équiterre to formulate the points proposed in its platform. We propose to :
- Modernize existing policies and regulations in collaboration with industry. Some regulatory barriers hinder the development of car-sharing services, including the maximum amount allowed for ride-sharing services.
- Coordinate public transportation services. The different transportation options fall under different ministries and levels of government. Combining efforts in transportation would provide a harmonized and sustainable vision with specific goals. Partnerships between the various transport services have also led to better service to users, by reducing subscription fees, for example (including STM and Communauto).
- Create incentives to help the industry. Financial measures could include, for example, the reduction of subscription fees, tax credits for subscriptions to such services, the reduction of parking fees for car-sharing, or even more incentives to build fleets of electric vehicles.
- Ensure that the services on offer meet the needs of users. At present, for example, it is very difficult to use the car-sharing system to go from one municipality to another.
ELECTRIFICATION OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Commuter trains, new rail infrastructure, buses and trams all have electrification options without batteries. In big cities, we support electrical bus feeds by overhead wires. Connecting power directly to public transportation is an effective way to reduce our GHGs while avoiding the harmful effects of batteries on the environment.
POLICY ON ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Although most electric vehicles powered by hydropower emit less GHG than petroleum-powered vehicles, their ecological impact is important and should not be underestimated. The environmental impact of electric vehicles is particularly heavy in the mining sector and has adverse effects on surface water and land use planning.
In Quebec, several private companies are proposing to dig new rare earth mines to produce batteries for electric vehicles. This toxic process consumes an astronomical amount of drinking water. In addition, the process of chemical extraction involves the storage of waste, the creation of settling ponds and even radioactive pollution.
Experts say that simply converting to electric vehicles is not a sustainable solution. To respect the limits of our ecosystems and our atmosphere, we must massively reduce our use of private automobiles, regardless of the type of energy used.
According to the Green Party of Quebec, the Quebec government currently gives too much importance to electric vehicles in the shift to clean energy. It is misleading to say that the electrification of private vehicles will solve the ecological problems of our mode of transportation. Instead, we must aggressively fight against the individual use of the car and favor public transportation in every way we can.
In our opinion, the current subsidy of up to $ 8,000 for each electric vehicle purchased in Quebec in an effort to offset their higher price, does not represent proper use of public funds earmarked for energy transition. Car manufacturers may even raise prices knowing that the government will foot the bill.
For these reasons, the Green Party of Quebec proposes to abolish subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles and to invest these sums in the community, that is, in urban and interurban transit infrastructures. The best way to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles is to oblige car manufacturers to sell a predetermined percentage of them each year. A coalition of environmental groups claims that 50% of cars will be electric by the year 2025. We support building charging stations to allow citizens to use electric vehicles on an adequate recharging network. Any new construction should also make it easy to install one or more charging stations for electric vehicles. The building code should also take this into account.
SPECIFIC TRANSIT PROJECTS IN GREATER MONTREAL AND THE QUÉBEC REGION
The Green Party of Quebec believes that ambitious transit development projects would make it possible to decongest major centres while saving money on road maintenance over the long term. The GPQ believes that a coordinated approach to transportation would achieve specific objectives and optimize resource investment. While several transit projects are under consideration, we need to use evidence-based studies, and determine the needs of major centers in order to decide which projects should be prioritized.
The pink line should be developed. The construction of the pink line would not only help overcome the overload problems of the green and orange lines, but also connect areas of the city where getting around is overly laborious. This line would facilitate access to employment and contribute to the economic development of the regions involved.
DISCOURAGING THE USE OF LARGE VEHICLES
In Quebec, consumers are buying more and more large energy-consuming vehicles. In 2017, two-thirds of new vehicles sold in Quebec were light-duty trucks (SUVs or vans) and our gas consumption was never higher than in 2017, when we consumed nearly 10 billion liters of gasoline. This trend must change quickly. Quebeckers are paying more and more for less efficient vehicles. In fact, the purchase of new vehicles costs Quebecers $16.5 billion each year. Expenditures for private transport are the second largest single expense for our citizens, only outpaced by housing.
To combat this new trend, the Green Party of Quebec supports a registration rate based on a vehicle's weight and displacement. Under a Green government, it will be significantly more expensive to buy and register large fuel-consuming vehicles. Compact, electric and hybrid vehicles will be favored in the calculation of registration fees.
URBAN ZONES WITHOUT CARS IN THE 30 LARGEST CITIES IN QUÉBEC
Require the 30 largest cities in Quebec to develop car-free zones in the heart of their downtown core. They will be able to rely on generous provincial grants for pedestrian and active transportation development.
ABOLISHING LEGISLATIVE BARRIERS TO CAR-SHARING
Carpooling is an essential part of reducing our oil consumption. Despite this fact, Quebec imposes strict guidelines that prevent anyone from benefiting from carpooling, meaning that a person can accept passengers in his vehicle provided that he charges only the price of the fuel and the costs associated with the vehicle. In other words, the driver is not entitled to be compensated monetarily for accepting passengers. This slows down the development of carpooling applications since drivers cannot operate commercially. The Quebec Green Party supports a regulatory framework that encourages carpooling, which recognizes that it is perfectly reasonable to compensate drivers for their service and that single passenger cars are a source of astronomical emissions and a nuisance in the fight against climate change.